Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold, is making more money now, on modified assignment, than ever before, Politico New York reports. The revelation comes even as Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to refuse to release Pantaleo’s disciplinary records.
In December 2014, a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo, who can be seen on camera wrestling the unarmed Garner to the ground after he resisted arrest for selling loose cigarettes outside a convenience store on Staten Island’s Richmond Avenue. Pantaleo was stripped of his gun and badge after Garner’s death and placed on modified duty.
Immediately preceding Garner’s death, in fiscal year 2014, Pantaleo made $99,915, including overtime, according to Politico’s review of departmental payroll records. In 2015, he made $105,061, including overtime and additional earnings. In fiscal year 2016, Pantaleo made $119,996, including $23,220 in overtime—a 35 percent increase in overtime pay and a 14 percent overall increase from the previous fiscal year.
Over summer, the NYPD began withholding internal disciplinary records—including Pantaleo’s—that previously were subject to disclosure, the New York Daily News reported last month, reversing a nearly four-decade-long precedent.
The NYPD has publicly released these records on internal discipline for years, including unrelated punishment against Pantaleo for a 2012 stop-and-frisk complaint.
But in the past few months, the department began withholding them, citing an obscure state law known as Section 50-a that prohibits release of cop personnel records. That law has been on the books for 40 years and was, until now, not a deterrent to releasing discipline findings. A high-ranking police official said the NYPD’s Legal Bureau halted the release during a recent review as the department began making paper records electronic.
“The law, for better or worse, precludes the disclosure of the kinds of personnel information that had been previously posted by the NYPD,” Eric Phillips, a de Blasio spokesman, told the Daily News last month. “The NYPD has no choice but to comply with state law.”
For his part, Governor Andrew Cuomo isn’t buying it: “Don’t say it’s the state law when a judge interpreted the law otherwise and your office is now contradicting the judge.” And indeed, the city has taken to actively opposing disclosure, going so far as to file an appeal in state court to prevent a summary of Pantaleo’s disciplinary record from being disclosed.
In July, police commissioner Bill Bratton said that the NYPD’s internal investigation is “for all practical purposes” complete, but that its release is contingent upon the outcome of a federal investigation. Whatever the department’s findings, they clearly haven’t had any impact on Pantaleo’s paycheck.