NEW YORK (WPIX) -- An NYPD judge has recommended that Daniel Pantaleo, the officer at the center of the Eric Garner case, be terminated from the police force.
Multiple sources confirmed to PIX11 on Friday that NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials, Rosemarie Maldonado, issued the recommendation, which was delivered to the Civilian Complaint Review Board's leaders and Pantaleo's attorney, where they will be have about two weeks to draft a response.
Although Maldonado issued the recommendation, Police Commissioner James O'Neill has the final say.
The New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board issued a statement after the ruling:
“Today's decision confirms what the Civilian Complaint Review Board always has maintained: Officer Daniel Pantaleo committed misconduct on July 17, 2014, and his actions caused the death of Eric Garner. “The evidence the CCRB's prosecutors brought forth at trial was more than sufficient to prove that Pantaleo is unfit to serve. Commissioner O'Neill must uphold this verdict and dismiss Pantaleo from the Department, as was recommended by both the CCRB and the Deputy Commissioner of Trials.”
The crux of the case remains whether Pantaleo used a chokehold, which is banned by the NYPD; the officer denies he used the move.
The internal police process comes to a head just weeks after Attorney General William Barr declined to bring federal charges against the embattled officer.
The issue of Pantaleo's employment also took center stage during Wednesday night's Democratic primary debate, as protesters screamed, “Fire Pantaleo!” while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shared the stage with other candidates for president
“There's going to be justice. I have confidence in that,” de Blasio said during the debate, adding that Pantaleo's professional fate should be decided within the next 30 days. “For the first time, we are not waiting on the federal Justice Department, which told the city of New York that we could not proceed because the Justice Department was pursuing their prosecution.”
Ahead of the recommendation being unsealed, Garner's daughter, Emerald Garner, told PIX11 that de Blasio shouldn't run for president. “For me, Eric Garner is a deal breaker for everything.”
She also warned O'Neill that if Pantaleo keeps his job, things are “not going to be pretty.”
Garner died on July 17, 2014, after police attempted to arrest the 43-year-old father of six, who was allegedly selling loose cigarettes illegally on Staten Island, a crime for which he previously had been arrested.