Tuesday, September 10, 2019


Police Officer Eric Pantaleo was recently terminated by Police Commissioner James ONeill for the improper chokehold Panteleo used while apprehending Eric Garner who then died. Garner's 2014 death was captured on video. I lean left as most of you know so I would tend to accept the conclusion of the judge in Panteleo's departmental trial and the Commissioner's decision to fire the officer.

That said, I generally support the police and their unions more so than some of my friends on the left. My brother served as an NYPD Captain and gave me some real insight into what the job was like. I know some other NYPD officers and retired cops who are decent people who do their best to uphold the law.

For those of you who did not follow the Pantaleo trial closely, below is an excerpt from from CBS News on the departmental trial :

Pantaleo's lawyer has said the officer didn't mean to hurt Garner and insisted he did not use the banned chokehold. But in a disciplinary recommendation obtained by the New York Times, NYPD administrative judge Rosemarie Maldonado said video of the fatal encounter and autopsy results provided "overwhelming" evidence that Pantaleo used the banned maneuver. In the recommendation that followed a recent administrative trial, she reportedly found Pantaleo was "untruthful" during questioning when he denied using the chokehold.

The judge said fire him and the Commissioner agreed. End of story, right? Wrong.

I really want this post to be about the union angle and not so much the verdict. Teachers are routinely charged, discontinued, terminated and or forced to resign in NYC. The response from the UFT publicly is virtually always stone cold silence. However, when one NYPD officer is terminated, even though there is video evidence that the officer used a prohibited choke-hold, their union (the PBA) still goes absolutely ballistic in support of their member.

From the NY Post in the week after the arrest:
The number of arrests and criminal summonses handled by city cops last week plummeted compared to the same period in 2018 — and law enforcement sources warn it’s the “Pantaleo Effect.’’

Officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired by NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill on Aug. 19 over his role in the fatal takedown of Staten Island cigarette peddler Eric Garner, enraging police officers and their union leaders, who argue the cop was simply doing his job during an arrest.

Police Benevolent Association chief Patrick Lynch responded by angrily telling his members to “proceed with the utmost caution’’ when answering calls — and new statistics obtained by The Post on Monday suggest officers are heeding his warning.

Obviously, there is a bit of a slowdown going on that is succeeding. The generic term for this slowdown is a job action.  However, you will not see the Taylor Law being used against the cops where each officer would lose two days pay for every day that arrests and summonses are way down. The PBA is being emboldened as this continued.

PBA Delegates voted unanimously that they have no confidence in Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner James O'Neill. 

From Politico:
The resolutions approved by the Police Benevolent Association call for O’Neill to resign, and for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to use emergency powers to remove de Blasio from office. They were approved by a unanimous voice vote at a meeting of the PBA’s nearly 400 delegates, elected as union representatives from the city’s precincts and police commands.

“Today’s votes are an unequivocal indictment of our failed leaders in City Hall and 1 Police Plaza. For years, Mayor de Blasio has demonized police officers and undermined our efforts to protect our city. For years, Commissioner O’Neill has cravenly acquiesced to the Mayor and his anti-cop allies,” said PBA president Pat Lynch in a prepared statement.

“The unjust termination of P.O. Daniel Pantaleo was merely the final straw: both men have displayed an appalling pattern of malfeasance and nonfeasance that disqualifies them from continuing to serve in their current offices," Lynch said.

The slowdown looks like it was continuing as last week the NY Post reported on Wednesday that shootings are up but arrests and tickets are down in NYC.

Statistics showed citywide shootings nearly doubled during the past week, from 12 to 23, compared to the same period last year.

That followed a 44 percent spike, from 16 to 23, during the previous week, which began the day of Pantaleo's firing.

Those shootings bought the most recent four-week total to 85 shootings, up 25 percent from 68 last year, after two weeks in which there were a combined 39 shootings, down from 40 during the same time last year.

Further down:
O'Neill also acknowledged an ongoing decline in police activity since Pantaleo's firing, with arrests and criminal summonses down 19,8 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively, last week.

Parking violations also plummeted by a staggering 67.5 percent, while moving violations were down also by 22.4 percent.

Law-enforcement sources have told The Post that while there's no organized slowdown, the drop in numbers was due to the "Pantaleo effect" of cops not wanting to put their careers at risk.

Parking tickets down 67.5 percent but it's not an organized slowdown? Yeah right, it's just police officers proceeding with the "utmost caution."

O’Neill on the union:
"This is something Pat feels he needs to do for his membership, and I'll say it again, I disagree with him very strongly," O'Neill said.

Notice the respectful tone and how he purposely does not call it a slowdown.

Back to the Politico story:
The mayor and police commissioner have taken flack from both sides for their handling of the controversial case. While the union rails against the decision to terminate Pantaleo, Garner’s family and police reform advocates have chastised de Blasio and O’Neill for not taking disciplinary action against more officers.

One officer is terminated and the cops are unofficially staging a work slowdown. Do you think anything beyond losing some vacation days is going to happen to anyone else involved in the Garner case? 

The answer is nobody will be in any further trouble because the PBA would go even wilder and police would basically stop arresting anyone but the most blatant criminals. The slowdown is somewhat restrained and it is successfully making its point. Sorry critics, there isn't going to be any housecleaning of officers involved in the Garner case. The PBA is still a force to be reckoned with.

Now picture a union in which UFT members have that all for one, one for all spirit. Whatever you think of the 1968 strike, (critics say it was a fight to prevent community control while UFT supporters say it was about due process for UFT members), the UFT shut down the schools for two months because 13 members were involuntarily transferred out of a district. Let's take the UFT at their word that it was about due process, the many came to the aid of the few. If we built the UFT back from the ground, not from the top, I guarantee you we would be respected again. We are living off what is left of the gains made back a half a century ago when the UFT was respected. It can happen again. It is up to the rank and file to demand it.


Anonymous said...

The uft leadership is useless.
Teachers are young and know nothing, what you propose will not happen.
Teachers dont read their own contract.
Teachers have no idea what they are voting for when they vote
Garner was a repeat, repeat, repeat criminal, dozens of times.
Garner was obese.
Garner did resist.

Anonymous said...

Teachers are still asking about retro pay. They know nothing. Why would you expect a sudden change? Read the teacher FB pages. They are asking about how the retro will affect the tda, taxes, if they are eligible. They are idiots. A para wrote how she climbed up to the ceiling to put something up, feel, 2 days later requested LODI and was denied. Teachers on here all the time complain about Open Market. Or waiting over 20 years to get a job on Staten Island. Or getting ignored while applying for hundreds of vacancies in all 5 boroughs. Or getting observed on the 1st day of school. Or doing jupiter grades, having to submit an electronic grade for every student, every period, every day. Fraud grades. No shows getting 65. Want me to keep going?

Anonymous said...

Garner should not have died. What risk was he to the public order?

Anonymous said...

And what are you doing about it 2:05? Let me answer: NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BUT WRITING COMMENTS ANONYMOUSLY. I am anonymous too. We are the problem.

Anonymous said...

He died because he had many medical issues. He was taken to the ground because he was a criminal, many dozens of times.

Anonymous said...

What would you like me to do? I voice my opinion and the problem to coworkers. I vote against unity. I pull my dues.

James Eterno said...

Help grow an opposition. If you pulled your dues, you aren't voting against the Unity Caucus.

Anonymous said...

Trust me, the UFT will NOT help you if you are in trouble. I caught a bullshit verbal abuse allegation a while ago. I called the Bronx UFT office and asked for a rep to come to my interview. THEY NEVER CALLED ME BACK! Flip this with how the PBA treats it's members. The cops of this city know that their union has their back at any time. I ended up getting a letter to my file by the way. (Only one I have ever had in my many years of teaching)

Anonymous said...

With the lump sum payment coming due the union will dip into it again. I know this has bothered members for the last few years going back to 2015. Has the Executive Board already approved this?

Anonymous said...

Another reason I dropped out. So dues are already a complete tipoff at $62. We get money being held for 11 years with no interest, and dues become $150. What a scam.

Anonymous said...

Thats why we should all call in on the 23rd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

In other news students say they dgaf and tell teachers to smd with no repercussions and...the uft collects dues.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I like how the PBA came to the defense of one of their own.

I am unfamiliar with enforcing the peace of the general public, so I am not one to comment on the firing of this young man.

Having said that, the membership of our union at its core(the rank and file) really do not know or want to know about their rights etc.

On the PD Monday, a speaker went late. We were scheduled to leave at 3:50. Only the Uft rep and myself left.

We are allowed to leave at that time. No other staff member left. By doing this, it makes me and the chapter leader look bad

This is the issue with our union. Zero solidarity. The cops have it. Mta has it too.

Until we stand together, everything will turn to crap.

James Eterno said...

I salute you for your stand 7:46.

Anonymous said...

The Trump administration will approve a 2.6% raise for federal and civilian employees. This is less than the 3.1% that the House of representatives approved but it seems that the 2.6% raise will eventually be approved by the Congress.

The 2.6% raise is higher than the UFT negotiated 2% raise for its members but then again our union leadership rather play nice with the Mayor than fight the City for a better raise Compared to other teacher contracts, our union leadership cannot negotiate an adequate raise.

Anonymous said...

Typical doe, typical uft.

Anonymous said...

Instead of calling those who opt out scabs, in my case, as i have written here, there are about 1000 reasons why...I wish you guys had that type of energy fighting a 10% raise over 7 and a half years, retro being held for 11 year with no interest, another raise that averages less than 2 percent per year over 43 months, the PPL which we paid for, the 12/23 fiasco, 6 observations when only 2 are required statewide, the forced electronic grades and/or excessive paperwork, the absentee or meaningless chapter leaders...If you would threaten the uft with pulling dues, maybe we wouldnt have gotten those lousy deals, or if you wouldve voted against the contracts or voted unity out...

James Eterno said...

I voted against both contracts and led the fights against them. The first at the DA and here and in 2018 on line here, at Ravitch's blog and working with other opposition groups. We got 15,000 hits on our 2018 contract piece. Over 70,000 on the 2014 post. I think we can take credit for some portion of the no vote.

I wrote in May how Michael Mulgrew wouldn't be pushed to militancy if half of us quit the UFT. It is not in his DNA. We would just be a smaller, even weaker union with fewer members. There are no examples in history of a union losing members and getting better deals for its members.

I ran against Mulgrew. I could not get to enough schools to make a difference. The only way to do that is to have hundreds of respected people in schools to counter Unity Caucus BS. That is where focus must be. Not easy but it is the way to change things as I see it.