The investigator responsible for leaking information regarding the NYPD officer involved in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner was forced to resign on Thursday.
The investigator, who was not publicly identified, was a junior staff member at the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) for less than a year. The person chose to quit when faced with the prospect of termination and it is unclear at this time if the person will face criminal charges. The employee had no role in the investigation of any of the disciplinary cases against Officer Daniel Pantaleo that were leaked to the website Thinkprogress.org, the board said.
“After a swift and thorough internal investigation, the Civilian Complaint Review Board identified the employee who was the source of the leak,” board secretary Jerika Richardson said. “As of today, that individual no longer works at CCRB.”
The leaked records showed that the review board had found enough evidence to substantiate four claims that Officer Pantaleo had abused his authority, two of them related to a 2012 street stop and the other two related to a vehicle stop and search in 2011.
Cynthia Conti-Cook, a staff lawyer for Legal Aid, which has been seeking to force the city to disclose details on officer discipline, said the release of Officer Pantaleo’s records has exposed Mr. de Blasio’s conflicting messages on police transparency.
“They’re going to fire a C.C.R.B. leaker before they will fire a man who killed an unarmed man on duty as a police officer,” Ms. Conti-Cook said, referring to Officer Pantaleo, who remains on desk duty at the Police Department. “It’s pretty troubling.”
Garner, who was accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, was stopped by police in 2014 and refused to be handcuffed. Pantaleo is seen on a bystander’s cellphone video putting Garner in an apparent chokehold, which is banned under NYPD policy. The heavyset Garner, who had asthma, is heard gasping, “I can’t breathe.” He later was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Although a medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide “caused in part by the chokehold,” a grand jury ultimately declined to indict Pantaleo in Garner’s death in December 2014. Pantaleo is currently still employed by the NYPD.