LATEST PAPER
71° Good Evening
71° Good Evening
News

Thousands petition de Blasio to fire cops in Eric Garner, Delrawn Small deaths

More than 60,000 petitions were delivered to City Hall that demand the firings of officers Daniel Pantaleo and Wayne Isaacs.

On Wednesday in front of City Hall, Delrawn Small and Eric Garner’s families and activists called for Mayor Bill de Blasio to fire Officers Wayne Isaacs and Daniel Pantaleo.  (Credit: Newsday / Matthew Chayes; Charles Eckert)

Activists on Wednesday delivered thousands of petitions to Mayor Bill de Blasio demanding the firing of NYPD cops involved in confrontations — two years apart —  that left civilians, including Eric Garner, dead.

Cardboard boxes holding what activists said totaled about 61,000 petitions called for the firing of Daniel Pantaleo, the lead arresting officer in the 2014 Garner case, and others involved in the arrest, along with the firing of Wayne Isaacs, an off-duty officer who shot an unarmed man, Delrawn Small, whom the officer said attacked him during a traffic dispute in 2016.

The petition said: "Your inaction is sending a message to New Yorkers that the lives of Eric Garner and Delrawn Small do not matter."

De Blasio has argued that state law, the New York City charter, along with judicial precedent, precludes him from doing so, or even saying publicly what he thinks should happen.

In a statement read Wednesday by Valerie Bell —  mother of Sean Bell, a groom who was killed in 2006 by NYPD cops who mistakenly thought he was armed — Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, said: "It warms my heart that at this time, tens of thousands of New Yorkers signed the petition... to demand that the mayor fire Wayne Isaacs for murdering Delrawn Small three years ago, as well as Pantaleo."

In the Small case, Isaacs was acquitted in 2017 of murder and manslaughter charges. A surveillance video from the 2016 encounter, played in court, shows Small getting out of his car at a traffic light in Brooklyn, walking around another car to Isaacs', and within a second, Small falling back after apparently being shot.

On Wednesday, his sister, Victoria Davis, lamented that she doesn't know whether Isaacs is still on the force, and in what capacity.

"We are here today to remind New Yorkers and remind the city and everyone else that Delrawn's life does matter and to remind Mayor de Blasio that Delrawn matters, Black Lives Matter, and he cannot continue to ignore Delrawn,"  she said.

During the activists' news conference to announce the petitions' delivery, de Blasio and his entourage exited City Hall: the activists chanted "Fire Pantaleo! Fire Wayne Isaacs!" De Blasio ignored the activists, walked to his NYPD-driven minivan and left the premises through the City Hall gates.

The NYPD did not respond to an email Tuesday night seeking information about the police officers' standing with the department.

The Garner case catalyzed the nascent Black Lives Matter movement, with his dying words,  "I can't breathe," uttered 11 times and captured on a bystanders' cellphone video and became the movement's rallying cry.

Last week, an administrative law judge recommended that Pantaleo be fired for using the long-banned chokehold maneuver while trying to arrest Garner, 43, for selling untaxed, "loosie" cigarettes on a Staten Island street on July 17, 2014.  The law judge presided over an administrative trial earlier this year at NYPD headquarters.

The police commissioner now decides how and whether to penalize Pantaleo, who has been on restricted duty since the death but has gotten pay raises. He wasn't criminally charged.

In the Bell case, the officers were acquitted at trial in 2008; all but one were fired or left the force.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos