Rep. Hakeem Jeffries on Wednesday said he will ask the Justice Department to expand their inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Eric Garner to include the issue of NYPD overtime pay for officers on modified duty.
The request comes as news that Daniel Pantaleo, the officer on modified duty after placing Garner in an apparent fatal chokehold, earned more than $36,000 in overtime or unspecified pay came to light, according to Politico.
“The police department, as much respect as I have for the men and women who wear the uniform, is not an organization prone to transparency and cannot be expected to reasonably police itself,” Jeffries said, speaking in front of NYPD headquarters.
“This administration has coddled Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Eric Garner in cold blood for the whole world to see. And we’re supposed to trust that the administration will conduct a fair and impartial review of the overtime practices and then enact change? It’s not going to occur.”
Jeffries also said he encouraged “inquiries” at both the state and city levels — including the NYPD Inspector General.
A representative for the NYPD said in an email on Wednesday that Chief of Department James O’Neill has “ordered a review of the overtime practices for officers who are currently on modified assignment. When the review is complete the Department will implement any necessary changes.”
Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said Pantaleo’s salary increases make it appear that police are above the law.
“It’s a smack in the face,” she said. “You’re being congratulated for killing my son. And this is just totally unacceptable by me.”
Garner was killed after being placed in an apparent chokehold on July 17, 2014, as he sold loose cigarettes on the street in Staten Island. His death helped spark a nationwide discussion of police force and tactics.
Pantaleo was not indicted in Staten Island, and remains on modified duty. He is currently facing possible civil rights charges, but has yet to face a departmental review.
NYPD Officer Richard Haste, who in 2012 fatally shot 18-year-old Ramarley Graham as he was trying to flush a bag of marijuana down the toilet in his Bronx apartment, was also placed on modified duty but received nearly $25,000 in raises as of Dec. 2015, according to the Huffington Post.
“These officers keep killing our kids and getting pay raises,” said Constance Malcolm, Graham’s mother. “It’s so frustrating. It’s like every time you think you’re going forward you just get knocked off your feet again and go right back to where you started from.”
The federal investigation into Haste was closed in March with no charges filed, and a series of failed grand jury actions against him stalled the case in state court.