Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, has won her bid to have a judicial inquiry into claims that officials, including Mayor Bill De Blasio, neglected their duties to investigate Garner’s arrest in 2014.
The request for a summary judicial inquiry was initially brought in June 2019 and allows an investigation into "any alleged violation or neglect of duty in relation to ... the government or affairs of the city.” Carr hopes to be able to question officials, including Bill de Blasio and New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill, about allegations of official misconduct in the case.
The inquiry will look into the arrest of Garner and the force used during his arrest, as well as the alleged lack of medical care given to Garner, according to reports. It will also involve reviewing paperwork police filed in regard to the arrest, and the alleged leaking of Garner’s arrest history, autopsy report and medical records.
"Although the arrest and death of Eric Garner has received considerable attention in the press over the past six years, many facts relating to his arrest and death, and the investigations and any disciplinary actions taken in response to his death, have not been disclosed to the public or to the family of Mr. Garner," New York State Supreme Court Judge Joan Madden wrote in her decision.
Alvin Bragg, the Garner family attorney, told the New York Post, “the decision is a strong step toward much needed and long overdue transparency.
“The court decision compels the city to do what it should have done long ago,” Bragg added.
On July 17, 2014, Garner was allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes in Staten Island when NYPD officers attempted to arrest him. In a video that has been watched worldwide, an officer, Daniel Pantaleo, put Garner in a chokehold as he dragged him onto the ground. Garner later died at a hospital. Pantaleo was not criminally charged.
In 2019, Pantaleo was fired from the NYPD after a departmental trial that found he violated NYPD’s ban on using chokehold, but he is appealing that decision.
The city plans said they plan to appeal the decision on the judicial review.
Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci told the Post, “There is no evidence that the Mayor or any other agency head or official neglected their duties or otherwise violated the law. There is no legal basis for a judicial inquiry to second guess the decisions that the law vests in the Mayor and Police Commissioner.”