P.B.A leader: Pantaleo a ‘model’ police officer

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Pat Lynch gives a press conference. (YouTube)
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Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who placed Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold last July, is a "model" police officer whom the public does not know enough about, the head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said today.

“He is the model of what we want a police officer to be,” P.B.A. president Pat Lynch said of Pantaleo. “What’s also been lost is the character of police officer Daniel Pantaleo. What’s not being told is what kind of man and what kind of person and what kind of professional he is.

"He is a resident of this great city. He lives on Staten Island. He lives in those neighborhoods. He’s college educated, here in this city. He’s a mature, mature police officer who’s motivated by serving the community. He literally, literally, is an Eagle Scout,” said Lynch, adding that the maneuver Pantaleo used on Garner was a “textbook” takedown.

A grand jury on Wednesday declined to indict Pantaleo in Garner's death.

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Lynch also criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio for comments the mayor made after the grand jury's announcement.

“What police officers felt last night after that press conference is that they were thrown under the bus,” Lynch said. “[The mayor] needs to support New York City police officers.”

De Blasio needs to teach children “to respect police officers," Lynch said. "You cannot resist arrest. Resisting arrest leads to confrontation [and] confrontation leads to tragedy. That’s the support we need.”

Asked to elaborate, Lynch said de Blasio “spoke about that we have to teach our children—about their interaction with the police and that they should be afraid of New York City police officers. That’s not true. We have to teach our children, our sons and our daughters, no matter who they look like, to respect New York City police officers. Teach them to comply with police officers, even if they feel it’s unjust. That police officers are protecting them from the criminals on the street.”

Speaking on Staten Island Wednesday night, de Blasio invoked his bi-racial son, Dante, and said he has had to speak with him about possible altercations with officers. The mayor also spoke at length about what he regards as long-standing, institutional racism that impacts policing throughout the country.

Lynch said the union would fight to get Pantaleo reinstated to his job—he is currently suspended amid several ongoing probes.