What We Know About the NYPD Officer in the Eric Garner Choke Hold Case

Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo was suspended after the July 17 incident.

ByABC News
December 3, 2014, 4:21 PM

— -- A New York police officer who was seen on video putting a man in a choke hold after police say he sold loose cigarettes in Staten Island this summer had his gun and badge taken away just days after the incident.

The actions of officer Daniel Pantaleo, the white officer who was involved in the incident with Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, have been the subject of a grand jury investigation and its decision not to indict Pantaleo over Garner's subsequent death was announced today.

Pantaleo, 29, has stayed out of public sight since the July 17 altercation, but ABC News has confirmed that he appeared in front of the Staten Island grand jury last month.

"My client was gratified that they took the time to listen to everything he said and he knows his future is in their hands," Pantaleo's lawyer Stuart London told ABC News.

Pantaleo's police partner, Justin D'Amico, testified after being granted immunity from prosecution, authorities said.

The Garner incident isn't Pantaleo's first brush with controversy as a cop.

Pantaleo also came under scrutiny in 2012 when he was sued for allegedly falsely arresting and strip-searching a group of men in Staten Island. According to the New York Daily News, the NYPD settled the suit for $30,000 at the time without any admission of wrongdoing and Pantaleo remained on the force.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said today that the grand jury investigation is the first of four possible investigations that Pantaleo could be subject to, including a federal investigation into any civil rights violations and any civil case that Garner's family brings forth. Garner's family has already indicated that they plan to sue the city for $75 million for wrongful death.

The administrative investigation into any violations against police code is still underway and has been going on parallel to the grand jury, police officials said. Bratton noted that the administrative review may determine that other officers could face additional punishments, but that is has not yet been determined.

In the days following the Garner incident, Bratton spoke out against the use of choke holds and said that there would be reforms with "special focus on the use of force" involving the "retraining of every member of the New York Police Department in the coming weeks and months and years."