Metro

Judge denies Garner family request for NYC officials to testify

A New York City judge denied a request Friday afternoon to call high-profile New York City officials as witnesses in the ongoing judicial inquiry into the chokehold death of Eric Garner in 2014.

The request was made by Garner’s family and other advocates in the judicial inquiry seeking to make public how the city handled the fallout of Garner’s death on July 17, 2014.

Attorneys for the advocates and family said that testimony this week from NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Internal Affairs Joseph Reznick left many questions unanswered.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Erika Edwards previously shot down a motion to call a slate of city and police leaders including Mayor Bill de Blasio and former police commissioners.

But after Reznick’s testimony, advocates wanted to question those in the Department Advocate’s Office, which serves as prosecutors in internal disciplinary cases, about how the case was handled.

Police Deputy Commissioner for Internal Affairs Joseph Reznick
Attorneys said that NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Internal Affairs Joseph Reznick’s testimony left many questions unanswered.
Erik Thomas/NY Post

Reznick testified on Tuesday that the internal investigation was free from outside influence and that his office recommended charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo in connection to the deadly chokehold that cause Garner’s death.

The IAB chief said though he had no idea what happened once it was handed over to the Department Advocate or why the department chose not to charge the officer for years.

“You’d have to ask them,” Reznick said when asked.

Gwen Carr, racial justice activist and mother of Eric Garner, looks on at a press conference calling for a ban on police chokeholds in Foley Square on June 2, 2020
Gwen Carr, racial justice activist and mother of Eric Garner.
Scott Heins/Getty Images

The feds had asked the department to not proceed with its internal disciplinary process while it was mulling to charge Pantaleo with a civil rights violation.

Reznick, however, said the department was not required to honor that request.

Garner’s family wanted DAO Deputy Commissioner Kevin Richardson to take the stand after Reznick, among others, to answer questions under oath about how that decision was made to stall the case for the feds.

Demonstraters storm the Macy's on 34th Street protesting the Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner in July on December 5, 2014 in New York City
Advocates want to question those in the Department Advocate’s Office.
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The motion was part of an obscure judicial process under the City Charter that forces officials to testify under oath about an issue for public record.

The inquiry is set to resume next Wednesday.


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