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NYPD Sergeant Disciplined in Eric Garner Case

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A New York City police sergeant has had her badge and gun taken away in connection to the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner. Officials said Friday that NYPD Sgt. Kizzy Adonis was charged with failure to supervise, an internal disciplinary sanction. It is the first charge of wrongdoing in the case, according to the Associated Press.

Adonis was one of the supervising officers at the scene of Garner’s death on Staten Island during an arrest on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. She was not part of the team out investigating that day but heard the radio call and was nearby and responded to the scene. Adonis is black and so was Garner.

Sgt. Ed Mullins, the head of her union, called the charge ridiculous and political.

“She didn’t have to go there — she chose to go there to help out and look what happens,” he said, adding it was Commissioner William Bratton, not Adonis, who is to blame. “This incident stems from failed policies that ultimately led to the death of Eric Garner.”

The encounter, caught on video by an onlooker, spurred protests about police treatment of black men. The case helped to ignite nationwide protests in connection to deaths of Blacks at police hands.

Garner, an asthmatic father of six, was seen yelling, “I can’t breathe!” 11 times before losing consciousness. The medical examiner found the chokehold contributed to his death. Coupled with police killings of unarmed black men elsewhere in recent months, the death became a flashpoint in a national debate about relations between police and minority communities.

No one has been charged criminally. Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is white and who applied the hold, remains on desk duty. A grand jury refused to indict him on criminal charges. The chokehold is banned under NYPD policy; Pantaleo has said he was using a legal takedown maneuver called the seatbelt.

No one else in the case has yet to face departmental charges, and the internal disciplinary review is on hold pending a federal inquiry, at the request of the U.S. attorney