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 HarrisLiberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday If only woke protesters knew how close they were to meaningful police reform MORE (D-Calif.) tweeted.

“Maldonado is right. Pantaleo needs to go—now,” Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerGOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday House to pass sweeping police reform legislation Police reform in limbo after Senate setback MORE (D-N.J.) echoed. 

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHouse Armed Services votes to make Pentagon rename Confederate-named bases in a year Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday Liberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP 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 GillibrandDemocratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights The Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci 'aspirationally hopeful' of a vaccine by winter The Hill's Morning Report - Officials crack down as COVID-19 cases soar 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'RourkeColorado GOP Rep. Scott Tipton defeated in primary upset Clinton, Buttigieg among Democrats set to hold virtual events for Biden Redistricting: 'The next decade of our democracy is on the ballot' in November 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 SteyerTom SteyerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary Celebrities fundraise for Markey ahead of Massachusetts Senate primary 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 BlasioRepublican Nicole Malliotakis wins New York primary to challenge Max Rose Pennsylvania issues order requiring people to wear masks in public New York City delays plan to restart indoor dining, citing coronavirus outbreaks across the country 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.