GoFundMe for NYPD Officer Pantaleo Raises Over $60k After Firing Over Eric Garner Case

The New York City police officer involved in the high-profile 2014 Eric Garner case —in which he used an illegal chokehold which eventually led to Garner's death— was fired from his position on Monday. Since his firing, a GoFundMe page that was set up by "R Trois" on August 2 as the, "Officer Daniel Pantaleo's family help fund" has raised more than $60,000.

New York City Public Defender Rebecca J. Kavanagh who works for The Appeal tweeted on Tuesday, "A GoFundMe page for Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who killed Eric Garner, raised almost $60,000 today. That's in one day."

A GoFundMe page for Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who killed Eric Garner, raised almost $60,000 today.

That's in one day. pic.twitter.com/JZALqLK2L9

— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) August 20, 2019

The page, created on August 2, says in its description: "Support NYC Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo and his family. Mayor de Blasio's anti-police rhetoric contributed toward the decision to fire him. Let's help an officer in need who was only doing his job! It's the least we can do for a brother in blue with a newborn and bills to pay!"

Its final goal is to raise $150,000 dollars for the family, and so far, over a thousand unique donations have been made. Only a small number of donations had been made until Monday.

Kavanagh drew attention to a number of racist comments made on the page, which have since been taken down.

"There is already massively disparate policing of minority communities," Kavanagh told Newsweek on Tuesday. "Police killings, like Eric Garner's, have created an almost complete breakdown in trust. When black and brown people then learn that a large number of police officers not only support the cop who killed him, but subscribe to overtly racist views, then whatever trust there is left is potentially totally destroyed."

The organizer of the GoFundMe page refused to comment. GoFundMe has not immediately responded for comment.

Pantaleo, 35, had been with the NYPD since 2006, was previously put on desk duty before his firing, collecting an annual salary of more than $97,000, according to public records, as his case made its way through legal and administrative circles. The dismissal means Pantaleo can collect his pension but loses other benefits he would have retained upon retirement.

The decision, which re-affirmed the recommendation of a police department disciplinary judge on August 2, was announced by New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill on Monday.

In explaining his decision, O'Neill said mobile phone video of Garner's death clearly shows the officer used a chokehold, which is banned by the NYPD.

"It's an extremely difficult decision," O'Neill said at a news conference. "If I was still a cop, I'd probably be mad at me... [but] it's my responsibility as police commissioner to look out for the city."

The NYPD just fired Daniel Pantaleo, the officer caught on camera strangling Eric Garner in 2014.

The commissioner added that Garner, who a medical examiner said was killed by a maneuver banned by the NYPD, "should have decided against resisting arrest"https://t.co/w0gQngPWVD pic.twitter.com/rX0Un8wHrQ

— POLITICO (@politico) August 19, 2019

The decision came more than five years after police tried to arrest the 43 year old father, who was allegedly selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island in the summer of 2014. In widely circulated video of the arrest, Pantaleo can be seen wrapping one arm around Garner's shoulder and the other around his neck before pulling him to the ground.

As Pantaleo forced Garner's head into the sidewalk, Garner could be heard saying "I can't breathe. I can't breathe." He died shortly afterward.

Eric Garner Protest
People march on Hollywood Boulevard in protest of the decision in New York not to indict a police officer involved in the choke-hold death of Eric Garner on December 6, 2014 in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Garner's death—three weeks before the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri—propelled a national movement and brought attention to Black Lives Matter. Garner's dying words "I can't breathe" became a rallying cry for protests against police brutality.