2020 Dems call for NYPD officer in Eric Garner case to be fired

2020 Dems call for NYPD officer in Eric Garner case to be fired
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Democrats running for president in 2020 called for the New York City police officer accused of killing Eric Garner to be fired.

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The calls come after Deputy Police Commissioner Rosemarie Maldonado recommended Friday that the NYPD dismiss officer Daniel Pantaleo. Shortly after the recommendation was made, Pantaleo was suspended, though the ultimate decision as to whether he should be terminated rests with New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill.

“Commissioner O’Neill: fire Officer Pantaleo. The Garner family has been waiting five years for justice and it's time they got it,” Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? Biden leads in new national poll, Warren close behind in second place MORE (D-Calif.) tweeted.

“Maldonado is right. Pantaleo needs to go—now,” Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerMark Mellman: The most important moment in history? Katie Pavlich: The Democrats' desperate do-overs Biden leads in new national poll, Warren close behind in second place MORE (D-N.J.) echoed. 

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? Katie Pavlich: The Democrats' desperate do-overs MORE (D-Mass.) said Garner’s killing showed the need for “more civilian oversight to hold police accountable when they fail” and Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' At debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR Trump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions MORE (D-N.Y.) resurfaced comments from Wednesday night’s primary debate in which she called for Pantaleo’s dismissal.

Former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeOvernight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks Five top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum Yang campaign says it received 450K entries for 'Freedom Dividend' contest MORE (D-Texas) added "There must be accountability — and there must be justice."

“Officer Daniel Pantaleo murdered a man in front of his business as he cried out for help. The NYPD must fire him. Anything less proves they're not taking police brutality seriously. Lives were forever changed by this officer's actions. There must be justice. #BlackLivesMatter,” billionaire philanthropist and activist Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerGabbard drives coverage in push to qualify for October debate Bennet launches first TV ads in Iowa How Tom Steyer wins the presidency MORE tweeted. 

Many 2020 candidates have made concerted efforts this election cycle to appeal to African American voters and cast themselves as supporters of several social justice movements as an increasingly progressive base demands action to rectify historic racial inequities.

Garner’s 2014 killing sparked a wave of activism aimed at underlining police officers’ use of force against people of color. Viral video of his death, in which Pantaleo is seen placing Garner, who was unarmed, in a headlock after he was allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. 

His final words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Garner testified earlier this year that the officer’s chokehold led to a “lethal cascade” of events that resulted in his death. 

The incident garnered national headlines again this week when protesters interrupted the Democratic primary debate shouting for Pantaleo’s firing when New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioGabbard drives coverage in push to qualify for October debate Poll: Biden holds five-point lead over Warren among New York Democrats New York City won't penalize students for skipping school for climate rally MORE was giving his opening remarks. 

De Blasio and other local officials have faced mounting pressure in recent weeks over Pantaleo’s employment status, particularly after the Justice Department announced it would not charge him over Garner’s death. 

Pantaleo’s defense team has blamed Garner’s “compromised respiratory system” for his death and claimed he was resisting arrest.

Updated at 5:47 p.m.