Garner died after being put in an apparent chokehold by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in 2014. A state grand jury at the time declined to indict Pantaleo, but the department fired Pantaleo in 2019 following a disciplinary hearing.
Now Judge Joan Madden has ordered a “summary inquiry” into the case, setting a hearing for Oct. 6, NBC News reported.
Garner’s family filed a petition in 2019 to find answers to a number of “unresolved factual issues” surrounding the aftermath and investigation into Garner’s death.
“Although the arrest and death of Eric Garner has received considerable attention in the press over the past six years, many facts relating to his arrest and death, and the investigations and any disciplinary actions taken in response to his death, have not been disclosed to the public or the family of Mr. Garner,” Madden wrote in her opinion, adding that she hopes to “bring transparency to the actions of public officials.”
The inquiry will examine several allegations regarding how the city and police carried out the investigation, including the lack of immediate medical aid for Garner, alleged lies in a police report, the unauthorized release of Garner’s arrest record and the release of autopsy information by the city’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner.
The ruling potentially clears the way for Mayor Bill de Blasio and former NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill to be compelled to testify under oath over the handling of Garner’s death and the following investigation, according to the Gothamist.
Garner’s family also hoped to include FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, but Madden did not grant that request.
In August, city attorneys asked Madden to dismiss the petition, Staten Island Live reported.
“There is no allegation that any named respondent unlawfully stopped Mr. Garner; used excessive force upon him; failed to intervene and stop the use of excessive force; made false statements on arrest reports; or failed to provide Mr. Garner with adequate medical treatment, nor could there be. They were not present,” law department attorney Stephen Kitzinger wrote.
Communities United for Police Reform called the ruling a “major win for transparency and basic civil rights.”
The ruling is part of civil litigation against city officials by Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, and sister, Ellisha Flagg, according to the Reporter. The family received $5.9 million in a 2015 settlement with the city.