Officer Who Put Eric Garner In Chokehold Was ‘Untruthful’ To Investigators, Judge Says

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Judge Rosemarie Maldonado has recommended that Officer Daniel Pantaleo be fired from the NYPD for his “reckless” use of the banned maneuver.

The New York City police officer who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold before his death was “untruthful” during interviews with investigators following the fatal encounter, a police administrative judge said in an opinion obtained by The New York Times.

Earlier this month, Judge Rosemarie Maldonado recommended that Daniel Pantaleo, one of the officers who attempted to arrest Garner in 2014 for allegedly selling illegal cigarettes in Staten Island, be fired from the NYPD. Maldonado determined that Pantaleo had not deliberately restricted Garner’s breathing but had used a banned chokehold on the man, whose repeated cry of “I can’t breathe” triggered national outrage and galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement.

Pantaleo was suspended from the department following Maldonado’s recommendation.

The Times published the judge’s 46-page opinion in full on Sunday. The document provides deeper insights into the reasons behind Maldonado’s recommendation that Pantaleo be dismissed. 

The judge said Pantaleo allegedly lied to investigators following Garner’s death and had “recklessly used force” against the man. When Pantaleo was asked by investigators to define a chokehold, he replied, “You take your two hands and you’re choking their throat or if you use your forearm grasped with the other hand and you pull back with your forearm onto the windpipe preventing him from breathing,” Maldonado wrote in her opinion, which was addressed to NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.

But when investigators showed the officer a video that revealed how he wrapped his left forearm around Garner’s neck with his two hands clasped, Pantaleo denied that he’d used a chokehold in the encounter.

I found [Pantaleo’s] uncorroborated hearsay statements explaining his actions to be untruthful,” Maldonado wrote.

Maldonado also took issue with the testimonies of Pantaleo’s witnesses, fellow officers Mark Ramos and Craig Furlani, who told investigators that they could not remember where Pantaleo had placed his arms on Garner during the encounter.

“The accounts presented by [Pantaleo’s] witnesses on this point were also unhelpful or unreliable,” Maldonado wrote. “In fact, the more central the factual inquiry was, the more vague recollections became.” 

O’Neill is expected to make a decision about Pantaleo’s future by the end of the month, the Times reported.

The Justice Department said in July that it would not pursue federal civil rights charges against Pantaleo for Garner’s death. 

“The DOJ has failed us,” Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, told reporters at the time. “Five years ago, my son said ‘I can’t breathe’ 11 times. Today we can’t breathe ― because they have let us down.”

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Tea Party Ex-Congressman Joe Walsh Apologizes For Helping Elect ‘Unfit Con Man’ Trump

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The former Illinois representative urges a new primary challenge for the “reckless” and “incompetent” president.

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), the conservative talk-show host and prominent “tea party” figure, on Wednesday called President Donald Trump an “unfit conman” and a “racial arsonist” and urged a primary challenge for the Republican nomination next year. 

Walsh also apologized both for his own heated rhetoric over the years and for helping to elect Trump in 2016. 

Writing in The New York Times, Walsh said:

In Mr. Trump, I see the worst and ugliest iteration of views I expressed for the better part of a decade. To be sure, I’ve had my share of controversy. On more than one occasion, I questioned Mr. Obama’s truthfulness about his religion. At times, I expressed hate for my political opponents. We now see where this can lead. There’s no place in our politics for personal attacks like that, and I regret making them.”

Walsh voted for Trump in 2016.

“If Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket,” he wrote on Twitter, later saying it wasn’t a literal call to arms but a call to protest.

However, since the election, he’s turned into a persistent Trump critic from the right. 

In the Times, he argued that Trump isn’t a conservative and that he’s vulnerable not just because he’s unfit for office but because of his poor record. 

“He’s reckless on fiscal issues; he’s incompetent on the border; he’s clueless on trade; he misunderstands executive power; and he subverts the rule of law,” Walsh wrote. “It’s his poor record that makes him most worthy of a primary challenge.”

He noted that former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, who is running against Trump in the Republican primary, is a centrist challenger. Instead, Walsh said, Trump could be vulnerable to a conservative opponent in the primary:   

“We need someone who could stand up, look the president in the eye and say: ‘Enough, sir. We’ve had enough of your indecency. We’ve had enough of your lies, your bullying, your cruelty, enough of your insults, your daily drama, your incitement, enough of the danger you place this country in every single day. We don’t want any of this anymore, and the country certainly can’t stand four more years of it.’” 

On Twitter, Walsh wrote that his column was both a call for someone to run against Trump and an apology for his own role in helping to elect him: 

Walsh was widely praised for the mea culpa:

5 Years After Ferguson, Democrats Announce Bill To Curb Deadly Police Shootings

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The legislation, which would raise the standard for police use of force, was announced on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.

On Friday ― five years to the day after a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teen in Ferguson, Missouri ― Democratic lawmakers announced legislation aimed at reducing police killings by raising the standard for law enforcement’s use of deadly force.

The bill would change the federal standard for “use of force” by federal officers ― including those with the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and more. It would require that cops only use lethal force when necessary to prevent “imminent and serious” harm or death, and after “exhausting reasonable alternatives.” Notably, it would require officers to use de-escalation techniques to try to stabilize the situation.

The legislation, called the PEACE Act, is also meant to affect officers at the state and local levels by requiring states to enact similar legislation to be eligible for continued funding from a certain federal grant program. Nationwide funding under that program, the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, has totaled about $400 million per year in recent years, per the office of Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who authored the bill.

Khanna was with Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) in Ferguson Friday to announce the bill. He plans to formally introduce the bill in Congress in September when lawmakers return from recess.

“It is past time to end a legal standard for use of force that permits Americans to be killed as a first resort ― rather than only when absolutely necessary ― and with little accountability,” Khanna said in a news release. He pointed to research showing how Black Americans are disproportionately affected by police violence, accounting for 25% of those who were killed by police in 2017 though they make up only 13% of the U.S. population.

“We have to do more than change the rhetoric,” Khanna said. “We have to change the laws.”

After Brown’s death, weeks of protests ensued, and the episode became a flashpoint in wider discussions about systemic racism, police brutality and abuse of state power. Five years later, of course, the nation is still reckoning with these problems.

Research shows police interactions with Black people are disproportionately likely to end in excessive force or death. Since Brown’s death, many more unarmed Black people have been killed by police, including Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Stephon Clark, to name a few. 

The legislation, which so far does not have any Republicans backing it, was co-sponsored by two dozen Democrats, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). It’s also backed by the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union. 

The bill was modeled on similar legislation recently passed in California that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to sign into law. 

Long John Silver’s Drops Fox News After Tucker Carlson Said White Supremacy’s A ‘Hoax’

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The brand is one of more than 20 that have stopped advertising during the Fox News host’s show because of his offensive rhetoric.

Fox News and host Tucker Carlson are losing more advertisers.

Long John Silver’s will no longer advertise on Fox News, as confirmed to Media Matters’ Angelo Carusone.

Nestlé and HelloFresh, which have advertised on Carlson’s show in the past, told The Hollywood Reporter they were no longer running ads on the show. Nestlé said it had no plans to do so in the future.

Earlier this week, Carlson claimed on his show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that there is no white supremacy problem in the United States and that it’s a “hoax” proliferated by the media.

“The whole thing is a lie,” said Carlson. “It’s actually not a real problem in America.”

The conservative commentator’s remarks came after two mass shootings in 24 hours last weekend. The gunman who killed at least 22 in El Paso, Texas, reportedly posted a white supremacist manifesto online shortly before the shootinhttps://www.theopinionpoll.comg. In light of that and Carlson’s history of repeatedly giving airtime to white nationalist conspiracy theories and talking points, #FireTuckerCarlson began trending on Twitter on Wednesday.

In an apparent coincidence, Carlson announced that he would be taking some time off from his broadcast that same night. He also told his critics to “calm down.” 

Fox News has stayed silent on the controversy. CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported on Wednesday night that none of the channel’s board members ― including Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, Jacques Nasser, Anne Dias, Roland Hernandez and Paul Ryan ― agreed to comment on Carlson’s rhetoric.

HuffPost has reached out to Fox News directly, and has also asked Carlson’s remaining advertisers to comment on their partnerships with his show.

In December 2018, Carlson lost more than 20 advertisers after suggesting that immigrants are making the United States “dirtier.” He never issued an apology and later doubled down on the racist sentiment.

Carlson lost even more advertisers in March after Media Matters released audio revealing white nationalist rhetoric he used duringvarious appearances on shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge’s show between 2006 and 2011. 

 

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