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Press Release

Rep. Jeffries, Mothers of the Movement and Community Leaders Demand Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD Fire Officers Who Killed Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham

Brooklyn, NY – Today, U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus leadership and House Judiciary Committee, stood with Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, Kirsten John Foy of the National Action Network and Mark Winston-Griffith of the Brooklyn Movement Center to demand that the New York Police Department fire officers Daniel Pantaleo and Richard Haste.

Pantaleo, an officer with a history of disciplinary issues, asphyxiated Mr. Garner on a sidewalk in Staten Island in 2014, irrespective of Mr. Garner declaring 11 separate times that he could not breathe. Haste chased 18-year-old Graham into his home and shot him to death — a decision a prosecutor called “neither reasonable or justifiable.” Both officers have retained their taxpayer-funded jobs and enjoyed significant increases in pay since the horrific deaths of both victims.

Rep. Jeffries said: “The administration’s coddling of police officers like Daniel Pantaleo and Richard Haste – both of whom took the life of innocent, unarmed African-American men – is unacceptable and unconscionable. The majority of New York City police officers are hardworking public servants who are in the community to protect and serve. However, those police officers who cross the line and take the life of innocent civilians without justification must be held accountable, not rewarded with overtime and bonus pay.”

Ms. Carr said: “It’s a smack in the face. You’re being congratulated for killing my son. And this is just totally unacceptable by me.”

Ms. Malcolm said: “It’s been over six months since the excuse Mayor de Blasio had been using to justify disciplinary inaction – his waiting for a decision by Preet Bharara’s office (that was refuted by Bharara’s office) – has disappeared. Yet, the de Blasio administration has still taken no action to fire Haste or any of the 12+ other officers who engaged in misconduct related to my son’s killing. The fact that Mayor de Blasio’s NYPD gives increased overtime and pay raises to officers who kill our children is disgusting, a betrayal to my family (and others), and all New York City taxpayers. The excuses continue, and New Yorkers should be asking serious questions about why their mayor is perpetuating the problem of police violence in our city, setting a horrible national example that is shameful. Mayor de Blasio should fire all 12+ officers who engaged in misconduct related to the killing of my son Ramarley, as well as any other brutality incidents perpetrated by NYPD officers. It’s time for him to stop passing the buck and take responsibility, because he is allowing this travesty of justice to continue on his watch and under his administration.”

Minister Kirsten Foy, President of Brooklyn Chapter of the National Action Network, said: “As we prepare to commemorate Eric’s birthday tomorrow we are having to deal with a consistent stream of disrespect for the Garner family, the community and the city at large from Commissioner Bratton. Instead of closing a painful chapter with the indictment of Pantaleo or his dismissal from the NYPD we are prolonging this tragic chapter in New York City’s history. In the face of the entire city demanding there must be some form of punitive action by authorities against Pantaleo this Commissioner has boosted his salary to a very lucrative six figures. Unacceptable, period.”

Officer Pantaleo was placed on modified desk duty shortly after Garner’s death in 2015. That year, Pantaleo made $105,061 with overtime. In FY 2016, he made $119,996 ($23,000 of that was in overtime, while another $12,853 came from “unspecified pay,” which could include bonuses or retroactive pay).

Officer Haste has received nearly $25,000 in raises since killing Ramarley Graham four years ago. Haste earned a salary of approximately $76,000 in the 2015 fiscal year and received over $2,000 in overtime pay and $10,147 in “other pay.” In fiscal year 2012, Haste earned a salary of over $53,000, plus nearly $9,000 in overtime and close to $4,800 in other pay. Haste was indicted by a grand jury, but the indictment was tossed out because of a prosecutorial mistake.

Rep. Jeffries added: “Daniel Pantaleo is Exhibit A for the police use of excessive force. The time for talk, protocol review and obstruction from the police department is over. We demand action, and the administration can begin by removing officers like Daniel Pantaleo and Richard Haste from the force.”