New York City said Thursday it is appealing a July ruling that ordered the release of a summary of disciplinary records on Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer involved in the controversial choking death of Eric Garner last year.
State Supreme Court Justice Alice Schlesinger ordered the Civilian Complaint Review Board to reveal the number of substantiated complaints against Pantaleo and any recommendations for discipline or fines, but chief city lawyer Zachary Carter said the ruling violated privacy protections for police personnel records.
The law "balances two important values -- protecting the privacy of officer records and ensuring public accountability for law enforcement officers," Carter said. "The lower court's decision appears to be inconsistent with previous case law prohibiting disclosure, and our appeal seeks clarity and guidance from a higher Court."
The review board investigates police misconduct complaints and makes recommendations to the NYPD. Pantaleo's records are being sought by the Legal Aid Society, which says it needs them to aid in discussing reforms with police officials. The case will now be heard by an appeals court in Manhattan.
In a notorious case caught on a bystander's cellphone, Garner, 43, died after Pantaleo used an apparent chokehold during a July 17, 2014, arrest on Staten Island, when he was accused of selling untaxed cigarettes. A Staten Island grand jury refused to indict the officer, but federal officials are still reviewing possible civil rights charges.