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Letter: Readers react to Pantaleo firing

New York Police Department Commissioner James P. O'Neill

New York Police Department Commissioner James P. O'Neill speaks during a news conference at NYPD headquarters on Aug. 19, 2019. Credit: AP/Richard Drew

Is anyone truly surprised that NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill fired Officer Daniel Pantaleo [“Garner cop fired,” News, Aug. 20]?

Despite the fact that a grand jury declined to indict him, I believe that once his case went before a departmental disciplinary hearing, his goose was cooked and the outcome was never in doubt.

I believe O’Neill caved to an emotional backlash driven by the race card. O’Neill sucking up to the politicians rather than doing the right thing is just proof that leadership in the NYPD is dead. Rather than lead, O’Neill has succumbed to the mob mentality. It is actions like this that make me glad I left New York City years ago.

Thomas F. Atkinson Jr.,


Daniel Pantaleo should have been fired long ago, following due process.

Video showed that he violated an NYPD prohibition on a deadly chokehold, which he applied and maintained to subdue the unarmed Eric Garner, who repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. A judge found that Pantaleo also lied about facts of the case during the investigative process.

If any of us committed a major infraction on our jobs — stole something significant, sexually abused someone — we would and should expect termination. Pantaleo’s violation led to Garner’s death, yet during five years on desk duty, he was paid more than $500,000.

Neither Mayor Bill de Blasio nor the police commissioner can escape the stench of their failure to act. Police culture needs change now.

Robert Mays,


The NYPD firing of Officer Daniel Pantaleo is horrifying. How absurd that a public servant trying to protect the public ended up losing his job, and that the family of Eric Garner received a $5.9 million settlement from the city.

Eric Garner did not obey orders to put his hands behind his back; he resisted arrest. The time to defend yourself is in a court of law, not disobeying police and fighting the people trying to protect us.

Why would anyone want to be a police officer today? I lose my breath over the disrespect to the police in this case and the outrageous settlement the family received.

Ilene Curtis,


Editor’s note: The writer is the mother of a police officer.

Not sure Oyster Bay will be ready

I read the article “A project fit for Oyster Bay” [News, July 30], about the town’s plan to create oyster gardens in places including Laurel Hollow and Oyster Bay Cove to help improve water quality. It’s great that the town is doing something for the oysters, but what about people? Now I am waiting for the article “A project to save the South Shore of Oyster Bay.”

Newsday has reported about other municipalities that have applied for grants to harden their shorelines against massive storms. For example, your July 28 news story “Fighting LI beach erosion” explained that the Army Corps of Engineers is considering tidal gates that would prevent storm surges for Freeport, Island Park and Seaford, all in the Town of Hempstead. I realize that the Town of Oyster Bay is undertaking various drainage and bulkhead projects at places including Alhambra Beach Park in Massapequa, but I have not heard about any efforts to do much more to guard against the devastation of another Sandy.

I’m glad that the oysters on the North Shore of Oyster Bay will be safe, but what about building up the South Shore? I called a town councilman to ask about efforts. He said he would get back to me, but never did.

Arlene Martin,


Lessons about Indians, immigrants

The Aug. 15 editorial cartoon by Jimmy Margulies depicted Indians asking a just-arrived Pilgrim for his resume and tax returns.

While the cartoon is supposed to be a jab at President Donald Trump, in retrospect, if the Indians had somehow been able to vet people arriving from Europe, they might have saved themselves from dislocation, pain and genocide. Just think about it. An unregulated invasion, as I believe happened then, is never good.

Wayne Drummond,

  West Babylon

Well done, Jimmy Margulies! As a high school teacher for 36 years, I wrote and taught courses in American Indian studies for students at several grade levels.

I believe that most Americans are uninformed about the rich and varied American Indian cultures in our state and other regions. Most Americans are unaware of the horrible actions brought upon American tribes throughout our history. Today, they face horrendous problems to overcome; federal, state, and local officials must do more to improve the lives of Indians. This will not be an easy task, but it truly is America’s unfinished business.

Chet Lukaszewski,



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