Orange County Officers Announce
“I Am Pantaleo”
Area towns in this corner of Orange County have a very high population of active and retired police officers and first responders. Some work locally, while many travel to New York City for their jobs. Social media posts had messages popping up all week long by police officers, along with their friends and family members, who opposed the firing by the NYC Police Commissioner of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the officer accused of causing the death of Eric Garner by restraining him with what was called a “choke hold”. Updated recounts of the incident reported that what was originally not a choke hold turned into one when the officer’s balance slipped, but in the end the Commissioner said it appeared there appeared to be ample time to adjust the hold on the very large man who cried out 11 times “I can’t breathe”, especially since there were a number of other officers on hand. The Commissioner acknowledged Thursday morning that “It was a difficult decision.”
Caption Above: Seen widely on social media this week
But our area active and retired police, along with their friends and family members, made it clear by posting emblems with “I am Pantaleo” above and denouncing the City authorities for not backing them up. They announced that many times they had found themselves in similar situations and “It could have been me”. From their perspective, in a situation like that there are numerous lives in danger, along with their own, risked for the sake of the community, and split-second decisions are made that can have very unfortunate unintended consequences, such as Garner’s death.
Garner’s family and supporters countered that it was justice applied late, and said “It’s not over”.
Asked his opinion, Mayor Bill DeBlasio focused away from the incident and emphasized the great lengths that area departments have gone to in the past decade to improve community relations, efforts that have resulted in much less violence and increasingly better rapport between the police departments and public.
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