New York, NY – A New York Police Department (NYPD) sergeant who was facing a departmental trial on charges related to the death of Eric Garner pleaded guilty to failure to supervise.
The New York Daily News reported on Wednesday that sources said NYPD Sergeant Kizzy Adonis had pleaded guilty to failure to supervise and will lose 20 vacation days as punishment.
“That’s actually a huge win,” an NYPD sergeant told Blue Lives Matter. He said the administrative trial court has a reputation for convicting “basically everyone” who goes before it and that the sentence could have been much worse.
NYPD Assistant Commissioner Devora Kaye confirmed that "this disciplinary case was adjudicated," the Queens Patch reported.
On Monday, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill announced that he had taken the administrative trial judge’s recommendation and terminated Officer Daniel Pantaleo in connection with Garner’s death.
Then New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio referenced Sgt. Adonis during a press conference on Tuesday, the New York Post reported.
“At this point, there’s one more trial, and it will also again be a public trial held by the NYPD for one of the sergeants involved,’’ de Blasio told reporters. “That will be concluded this year. That will end all the disciplinary issues being handled by the NYPD.”
Commissioner O’Neill also promised that Sgt. Adonis would be facing trial “soon,” the New York Post reported.
“It’ll be this year, definitely this year,” he said. “It’s a disciplinary case. We have to make sure that we look at all the facts. You have to make sure we have conducted thorough investigation. And then we move forward.”
At her own press conference after the commissioner’s announcement, Garner’s mother called for all the other officers involved in arresting her son to be fired.
“There’s more work we have to do,” Gwen Garner told WPIX on Tuesday morning. “There’s other officers on the force who was involved in my son’s death that day and we have to go after them because they all caused my son’s death – it wasn’t only Pantaleo.”
Garner was arrested by NYPD officers on July 17, 2014, after police stopped him for selling individual, untaxed loose cigarettes on a city sidewalk.
He resisted arrest and fought with officers who struggled to take the 350-pound man into custody.
In the process of subduing Garner, video taken by witnesses showed that Officer Pantaleo had his arm around Garner's neck and pressed his face against the sidewalk.
Garner repeatedly told officers “I can’t breathe,” a phrase that became a rallying cry for Black Lives Matter in the months that followed.
Officer Pantaleo later said he tried to use a “seatbelt maneuver” on Garner, and did not mean to put the much larger man into a chokehold.
Garner lost consciousness on the sidewalk, and died in the hospital an hour later from a medical emergency.
The autopsy report showed no damage to any area of his neck, and it was determined that he died of a medical emergency induced by officers who were arresting him. The medical examiner declared it was a homicide.
A New York Grand Jury declined to indict on any criminal charges.
The federal inquiry dragged on for five years and ended in July with federal prosecutors deciding not to charge Officer Pantaleo.
An administrative trial judge recommended that the officer be terminated for using a chokehold against department policy, and the police commissioner took her recommendation.
Gwen Garner told WPIX that Commissioner O’Neill’s firing of Officer Pantaleo was “a step in the right direction.”
“Justice will come when all the officers stand accountable for their wrongdoing that day,” she said. “Then we can have some sense of justice. And there’s a long way to go with that. We even have Kizzy Adonis who was charged – there was no court date set for her. There is nothing going forward with her.”
Sgt. Adonis arrived on the scene after Garner resisted arrest and was put into handcuffs, according to the New York Daily News.
But despite the fact that Sgt. Adonis was actually seven miles away when the incident occurred, NYPD had charged her with failure to supervise the officers involved in the arrest.
The New York Daily News reported that NYPD said Sgt. Adonis failed to intervene when she arrived and saw Garner already on the ground.
She was officially charged two years before Officer Pantaleo, in January of 2016.
Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins said that NYPD made Sgt. Adonis their “scapegoat,” the New York Daily News reported.
“She was at the borough [office] when it happened,” Mullins said. “What she did was what you’d want any sergeant to do. She took a leadership position and went to the scene.”
He pointed out that none of the other officials who got involved in the incident – a plainclothes anti-crime sergeant, the duty captain, and the platoon commander - have been accused of failure to supervise.
“They all need to lose their jobs,” Gwen Garner told The New York Times.
Police sources said that wouldn’t be happening and that Sgt. Adonis would keep her job, according to the New York Daily News.
The source said that Commissioner O’Neill had concluded “that nothing about her actions on that day either caused the use of the banned chokehold or delayed the arrival of medical attention for Mr. Garner.”