The cop who killed a man while trying to subdue him for arrest has been sued several times for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of black men, USA Today reports.
Daniel Pantaleo, a 29-year-old officer for the New York Police Department, put 43-year-old Eric Garner, a black man, in a chokehold on Staten Island when Garner tried to resist arrest. Garner, who was unarmed, told police he wasn’t doing anything wrong and wouldn’t let them touch him.
The NYPD faced accusations of racism and racial profiling after the release of a bystander tape that showed several cops crowding around a nonviolent Garner and Pantaleo hooking his arm around Garner’s neck and dragging him to the ground.
Garner exclaimed “I can’t breathe!” several times when he was on the ground. He suffered cardiac arrest and died.
This isn’t the first time that Pantaleo has been accused of violating the rights of a black man. Three previous lawsuits allege that he and other NYPD officers falsely arrested black men.
The oldest lawsuit is from 2012, and the most recent one was filed in November.
Lawsuits against Staten Island cops aren’t all that uncommon; the borough has the highest number of NYPD officers who are sued the most.
We reached out to Pantaleo’s attorney and will update this post if we hear back. Here’s an overview of the allegations:
Darren Collins And Tommy Rice
Collins and Rice sued Pantaleo and other police officers in 2012.
They allege that he and three other cops pulled them over one morning saying they saw a hand-to-hand drug transaction, the New York Daily News reports, citing court documents.
The cops then allegedly strip searched the men and touched their genitals, saying they were searching for drugs.
One person in the car was in possession of heroin, but Collins and Rice didn’t have any drugs on them.
Pantaleo denied the accusations. His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
Criminal charges against Collins and Rice were dismissed, and they settled the lawsuit for a payout of $15,000 each.
Walker sued Pantaleo in February, according to SIlive.com.
He says Pantaleo falsely arrested him in 2012 even though he wasn’t doing anything wrong or behaving suspiciously.
SIlive.com reports that he was charged with marijuana offenses, but the charges were eventually dismissed and the case sealed by the court.
The lawsuit against Pantaleo is still pending. Lawyers for the city have denied the allegations, according to USA Today.
Collins sued Pantaleo and other officers in November.
He says the officers falsely arrested him for marijuana offenses in 2012 and “subjected [him] to a degrading search of his private parts and genitals,” according to USA Today.
The suit alleges that the officers charged Collins because they wanted to get overtime pay to process legal paperwork.
The charges against Collins were dismissed and sealed by the court. The city has not yet responded to the allegations.