About two weeks ago, an NYPD administrative judge officially recommended that Daniel Pantaleo be fired from the force. However, the final decision in this matter was always going to lie with Commissioner James O'Neill.
NYPD policy says that the final decision on department disciplinary matters lies with the police commissioner.
In his position as commissioner, O'Neill has the option of following the judge's recommendation or making a different determination on what — if any — discipline Pantaleo should face.
After an internal trial, Judge Rosemarie Maldonado found Pantaleo guilty of using a banned chokehold that led to a cascade of events that ended with Eric Garner's death, according to a source.
Despite her ruling on the use of a chokehold, Maldonado found that he was not guilty of restricting Garner's breathing. The second charge had more to do with intent, meaning there needed to be clear intent to prevent someone from breathing in order for the charge to stick. But since Pantaleo made other attempts to subdue Garner with NYPD-approved tactics before the chokehold, such as an arm bar, Maldonado ruled that it wasn't Pantaleo's goal to cut Garner's breathing, according to the source.
Pantaleo was suspended from the department pending O'Neill's decision, per department policy.