Erica Garner: Why We Can't Let Cops Get Bonuses for Corruption

I am pleased that public outrage and good investigative journalism has resulted in the NYPD “reviewing” overtime for officers on modified duty. Unfortunately, as was the case with the independent prosecutor New York governor Andrew Cuomo ordered, I feel this is nothing more than a temporary step designed to appease the people and delay business as usual.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo killed my father, Eric B. Garner, on July 17, 2014. The idea that Pantaleo receives a substantial increase in pay after murdering my father and no one noticed is silly. Someone knew about this. This was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s bonus for a job well done and de Blasio has put his political future on the line to defend this corrupt institution. This underscores why we need transparency, the Right To Know Act, and a permanent special prosecutor. This also underscores why de Blasio is fighting tooth and nail to hide the disciplinary records of this killer cop on payroll. He already knows what we do not.

When the public got the disciplinary records of Tamir Rice’s killer we learned that he was not fit to be a police officer and had been transferred to Cleveland. The NYPD has said that its investigation is concluded, but it is waiting on the Department of Justice. The DOJ, two years later, has failed to reach a conclusion. Since the DOJ is still investigating and the NYPD is doing ”reviews," I’m calling for a full review of the complaints that have come out of the 120th precinct in Staten Island where three out of every five New York City police officers live.

As long as police officers like Daniel Pantaleo and Michael Zak are on the force and reporting to work in the 120th precinct and getting bonuses for corruption, we can never be serious about healing and building relationships with the community. Bill de Blasio’s benign neglect of the black community in New York City has led not only to Pantaleo's bonuses, but also to the cop who murdered Ramarley Graham getting increased pay as well. Unless these reviews will implement real changes and not just a delay in the miscarriage of justice, I think the message to police from City Hall is, "pull the trigga, kill a n***a, he’s a hero.”


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