Punishment of sergeant in Garner case draws criticism from both sides

The punishment of NYPD Sergeant Kizzy Adonis is drawing criticism from both the family of Eric Garner and members of the NYPD, albeit for very different reasons. 

“She was in simple terms, sacrificed by then-Commissioner Bratton in order to offset public pressure,” said Ed Mullins, President of the Sergeants’ Benevolent Association.

Adonis was accused of failure to supervise after Garner’s death and agreed to a deal where she forfeits 20 vacation days to settle her internal disciplinary case. She and Officer Daniel Pantaleo are the only officers involved in Garner’s death to face disciplinary charges, while Pantaleo’s partner remains employed with the NYPD despite claiming that Garner was trafficking enough cigarettes for a felony and that no force was used.

“She was the least one responsible that day, but they are concealing the names of the ones who should have been named,” Carr said. “Let’s do roll call here and see who is really responsible that day.”

The SBA described a culture of “white shirt immunity,” where higher-ups in the police force would wash their hands of accountability when it was the supervisors themselves who ordered officers to take action against Garner for selling loose cigarettes.

“The cops responded to assist an officer who was trying to make an arrest,” Mullins said. “Why? Because someone from above has those policies. That’s what this is about.”

The crucial question, of “where do we go from here?” is now being asked.

For Mayor Bill de Blasio, the answer is simply to move forward. For supporters of the Garner family, it is to charge others who were accountable. And for the SBA, it is to lean in and overcome.