The first police officer to be disciplined in the death of Eric Garner is a black sergeant named Kizzy Adonis, according to The Associated Press.
Adonis was stripped of her badge and gun over the 2014 death of Garner, who was choked to death by New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo. Although the incident was captured on a cell phone camera, a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo. The City of New York eventually paid a $5.9 million settlement to the Garner family.
According to The AP, Adonis was punished for “failure to supervise.” However, Sgt. Ed Mullins, the head of Adonis’ union, called the charges “ridiculous.”
“She [Adonis] didn’t have to go there — she chose to go there to help out and look what happens,” he said. “This incident stems from failed policies that ultimately led to the death of Eric Garner.”
Adonis is the only officer to have been officially punished for the death of Eric Garner, who was being arrested for selling unlicensed cigarettes. However, the police have suspended any disciplinary action pending a federal inquiry. Garner’s daughter, Erica Garner, lambasted the decision to punish Adonis in an online video. She said the entire criminal justice system was broken.
“A year-and-a-half later, the only people indicted in my dad’s case are people of color. A year-and-a-half later, this is the only answer that New York has to offer the Garner family,” said Erica Garner. “Not one of the eight killer cops that was on my dad’s back was charged for anything. This underscores the fundamental problem in this country. This is why we can’t reform our way out of this. This is why we can’t train our way out of this. It doesn’t matter about more black police officers. It doesn’t matter about more black district attorneys. It doesn’t matter about black police chiefs. All the way up to the president, it still doesn’t matter.”
Erica Garner also pointed out that the only person to have been charged in her father’s death is Ramsey Orta, the citizen who filmed the incident. Orta has been arrested several times and complained police are targeting him and his family. According to The New York Daily News, Orta faces charges for possessing a gun and selling Ecstasy to an undercover police officer.
He said he doesn’t regret filming Garner’s death, but he wishes that he hadn’t gone public.
“I should’ve done it smarter, and not put my name out there,” he told The Daily News. “I don’t regret taking the video. It shined some light on stuff that was happening. It was a good thing. Now people are opening their eyes to what’s going on with some officers.”