With the lack of indictment against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for his action in having put citizen Eric Garner in a chokehold maneuver that resulted in Garner’s death (according to a coroner’s report), it begs the question of the legality of this specific arrest maneuver—which had already been banned by the NY police department but not “explicitly against state law” in the state of New York when Garner died this past summer. And more importantly, if chokeholds are already banned if not made explicitly illegal, why do police continue to use this tactic?
The Civilian Complaint Review Board in NYC believes the reason for this continued use of chokeholds comes down to a very simple explanation: the ban is not being enforced and accused police officers are not being held accountable in cases of substantiated claims. The board argues further that in not enforcing this explicit rule, the police have essentially designed the chokehold rule to comply with the police department’s disciplinary lax process rather than the department comply with the rule.
This lack of accountability and due diligence in enforcing rules speaks to the larger issue of ratification within the police force that Romanucci &Blandin seeks to bring attention to. For the sake of Eric Garner and his family, and all the other victims of police misconduct, this mentality among law enforcement must change.