The New York Police Department said on Monday that it would begin disciplinary proceedings against the police officer who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold if the Department of Justice (DOJ) doesn’t decide on whether it will press federal charges against him, CNN reports.
In a letter addressed to the DOJ on Monday, Lawrence Byrne, the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters, wrote that his department delayed the proceedings to not interfere with the Justice Department’s investigation into the matter, per its request.
“However, based on our most recent conversations, it has become clear that a definite date by which time a final decision by the US DOJ will be rendered in this matter cannot be predicted,” Byrne wrote in the letter, per CNN.
Tuesday marks the four-year anniversary of Garner’s death. Officers attempted to arrest him for illegally selling cigarettes and he was placed in a chokehold, which was banned by the NYPD, by officer Daniel Pantaleo.
According to CNN, Pantaleo has been on the NYPD payroll since 2014.
Byrne said in the letter that his department “can no longer” support a delay due to the “extraordinary passage of time.”
The NYPD says that the DOJ has until Aug. 31 to make a decision and if it doesn’t happen then the NYPD “will move ahead” with its proceedings on or after Sept. 1.
The proceedings against Pantaleo would not be criminal but would figure out if Pantaleo would face “administrative discipline within the police department,” according to CNN.
The Justice Department said in a statement to CNN:
As officials at the Department of Justice informed Mr. Byrne this spring, the New York Police Department may move forward with its disciplinary proceedings. Mr. Byrne’s letter does not have any bearing on the decision-making timeline at the Justice Department, and the Department cannot comment further at this time.