NYPD official rips union advice on how to handle arrests in wake of Daniel Pantaleo firing

The war of words between the city’s police unions and NYPD brass continues

By Rocco Parascandola, Thomas Tracy, Graham Rayman and Erika Martinez
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — The war of words between the city’s police unions and NYPD brass continued Thursday with the chief of department panning “bad advice” being given out by the unions, who derided him as "out of touch.”

Chief Terence Monahan, the NYPD’s highest ranking uniformed officer, acknowledged “there is a lot of anger and frustration” among the rank and file over the firing of Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo, while addressing a Compstat meeting at One Police Plaza on Thursday.

As Monahan met with precinct commanders to go over department crime statistics, he panned a possible work slowdown suggested by Police Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch on Monday after top cop James O’Neill announced that he followed a department judge’s recommendation and canned Pantaleo for his role in Eric Garner’s chokehold death.

At the meeting, Monahan noted that “a lot of advice is being given out to cops” on dealing with people who resist arrest — as many officers believe Garner was doing in the moments before he died.

"Anyone who is going to hesitate to lock up a bad guy is endangering his own life. We do not give criminals the upper hand in an arrest situation,” Monahan said at the meeting, a recording of which was obtained by the Daily News.

“Any cop out here who has taken a gun off the hip of a perp knows damn well you better control his hands pretty quick" to prevent suspects from reaching for weapons or fighting back, Monahan continued. "If you don’t ... you can get yourself killed.”

Lynch urged cops to use the “utmost caution” when making arrests, especially if the person resists.

Lynch said officers should back each other up, call for a supervisor when making a bust and request an ambulance when touching a member of the public. Taking those steps can tie up cops and slow a police response for hours.

Lynch stuck to his guns on Thursday and turned Monahan’s word around on him.

“His advice to cops arresting a resisting perp for a minor violation is to ‘not hesitate’ and to try to ‘control the hands pretty quick.’ That is exactly what the police officers who attempted to arrest Eric Garner did — their hands were swatted away,” Lynch said.

“Chief Monahan is totally out of touch with the reality on the streets in today’s anti-police climate," he railed.

Police said Garner, 43, was selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk on July 17, 2014, and when he refused to surrender, cops tried to take the 6-foot-2, 395-pound Garner into custody, with Pantaleo grabbing him from behind.

Garner yelled “I can’t breathe” 11 times while he was on the ground — all of it captured on a cell phone video obtained by The News.

The head of the NYPD sergeants union on Thursday refuted a department claim that a sergeant who responded to the Garner scene pleaded guilty to failure to supervise and agreed to forfeit 20 vacations days.

Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, 42, did not plead guilty as was reported, but agreed not to contest the charge and did not admit culpability in Garner’s death, said Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association.

“She never saw the alleged chokehold, and had no knowledge it even happened until hours later when she was shown a video by Internal Affairs,” Mullins explained. “She accepted it (the non contest deal) not because she felt did anything wrong, but because she and the SBA have absolutely no faith in the disciplinary system within the NYPD.”

Adonis, a 17-year veteran, now plans to finish out 20 years as a cop, retire and move out of state. “She’s had enough,” Mullins said.

Pantaleo was cleared by a Staten Island grand jury, and federal prosecutors chose not to file civil rights charges against the cop.

©2019 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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