The three open cases against Eric Garner, who died while in police custody last week after allegedly being placed in a chokehold, were dismissed Wednesday, said a spokesman from the Staten Island district attorney's office.
The pending cases, which have now been dismissed and sealed, included selling untaxed cigarettes, driving without a license, and possession of marijuana, said a law enforcement official.
Garner, 43, died Thursday shortly after several officers tried to arrest him for allegedly selling individual, untaxed cigarettes. The officer who allegedly placed Garner in a chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, had his badge and gun taken away and was placed on modified duty, police have said.
A second, unidentified officer who was present during the incident, was placed on desk duty. As part of the investigation, the two EMT's and two paramedics from Richmond University Medical Center who responded to the incident were suspended without pay and barred from responding to 911 calls, said a hospital spokeswoman.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, the police's union, called Pantaleo's modified duty a "completely unwarranted, kneejerk reaction for political reasons and nothing more."
In the incident, which was caught on video, Garner was adamant about not being arrested before Pantaleo allegedly put him in a chokehold, which is banned practice in the NYPD. Garner's head and body are then held to the pavement and he can be heard repeatedly saying, "I can't breathe."
On Tuesday Police Commissioner William Bratton ordered a "top to bottom" review of all department training practices and use of force procedures. Bratton said he is sending a group to Los Angeles, where he led the LAPD for several years, to study their tactics.
"The department really does need to do a lot more, a lot more, in the area of training," Bratton said at a media briefing. "I would anticipate that coming out of this effort that there will be a retraining of every member of the New York City Police Department in the weeks, months and potential years ahead."
On Wednesday, Lynch said in a statement the PBA is "supportive" of the retraining efforts, but added "what we don't need is training that only tells us what we can't do when a person resists arrest."
Pantaleo has been embroiled in civil rights litigation before, according to court records.
Pantaleo, and the city, settled a $30,000 lawsuit in January with two Staten Island men who accused of him, and other officers, of unlawfully stopping their vehicle in 2012, frisking them and ordering a "humiliating" strip search in public. And in February a $1 million civil rights suit, which is still open, was filed in federal court in Manhattan against Pantaleo and the city, according to court records.