Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who was videotaped administering a lethal chokehold to Eric Garner on Staten Island in 2014, made over $23,000 dollars in overtime last year, even as he remains under federal investigation for killing Garner, who was selling loose cigarettes at the time of his death. Politico New York first reported the bump in earnings by Pantaleo, who made a total of $119,996 during the time period between July 1st, 2015 to June 30th, 2016. During that period, Pantaleo was on modified duty, and did not have a badge or gun.
The disclosure of Pantaleo’s salary bump comes at a time when Mayor Bill de Blasio has been harshly criticized for deferring to a decades-old state law that his administration now interprets as providing privacy for departmental disciplinary actions against police officers. The Garner family had been pressing the NYPD on information as to how Pantaleo had been disciplined by the department following the chokehold death, but under City Hall’s current interpretation, they’re not privy to that information.
“At times, officers are required to work beyond their scheduled tour of duty. This includes officers on modified assignment,” NYPD spokesman John Grimpel told Politico New York in an email.
City Council speaker Mellissa Mark-Viverito, a staunch ally of the mayor, who has broken with him on the issue of protesting police disciplinary records, believes that officer Pantaleo should be fired.
“The only thing more appalling than the grand jury failing to secure an indictment of Daniel Pantaleo are the reports that show he is still collecting substantial overtime pay – two years after Eric Garner’s death,” Mark-Viverito said in a statement to the Voice. “The vast majority of men and women who serve the NYPD treat the public with respect and are selfless civil servants but Officer Pantaleo is not one of them. He should not be rewarded for his reprehensible actions.”
Austin Finan, a spokesperson for the mayor, sent us this statement on Pantaleo’s overtime: “The mayor has spoken to the incoming police commissioner and this situation will be addressed.”
The mayor has called on Albany to change the state law to allow for the release of the records, while governor Andrew Cuomo has responded that the city is already allowed to release the records and that the mayor is just using Albany as a “scapegoat.”
UPDATE: James O’Neill, the incoming NYPD Commissioner, has ordered a review of “how officers on modified duty receive overtime pay,” according to NY1.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 13, 2016