Sgt Kizzy Adonis (c. 1977- ) is a Black American police officer with the New York Police Department (NYPD). She was one of two officers who oversaw the arrest of Eric Garner for selling untaxed cigarettes on July 17th 2014. Garner, who was Black, was put in a chokehold by a White police officer, Daniel Pantaleo. Garner died. The medical examiner ruled it a homicide.
After 18 months, Adonis is the only officer to be charged with any wrongdoing. She was also the only one who tried to help Garner, says Erica Garner, his daughter.
On January 8th 2016, she was charged by the NYPD’s internal affairs department with four counts of failure to supervise. The NYPD took her badge and gun and pulled her off the street. Note that she has not been charged with a crime – these are disciplinary charges. She could be fired or, more likely, lose vacation days.
Meanwhile Pantaleo, says Erica Garner, is back on the streets as terrible as he ever was. A grand jury in December 2014 refused to charge him with a crime. The NYPD could bring disciplinary charges – chokeholds are against its policies – but that is unlikely before the US Justice Department completes its investigation into whether Garner’s civil rights were violated.
Adonis, unlike Pantaleo, is not under criminal investigation by the Justice Department, so disciplinary charges had to be brought within 18 months, according to her labour contract.
The Justice Department investigation has been going on since December 2014, now over a year. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) says it should not take so long: it is “not a tough call under the federal statute.”
Adonis joined the NYPD in 2002. On June 25th 2014, just weeks before the Garner killing, she made sergeant. She was not called to the scene of the arrest, but since she was nearby, she came to help.
Pantaleo put Garner in a chokehold and took him down. He and other officers held him down while they put on handcuffs. Eleven times Garner said “I Can’t Breathe!” They did not get off of him.
This took place in front of Bay Beauty Supply on Bay Street in Staten Island. According to the shopkeeper, Adonis said, “Let up, you got him already.” One officer looked up but did not let go.
In a police report on Garner’s death, Adonis said,
“the perpetrator’s condition did not seem serious and that he did not appear to get worse.”
The report said Adonis “believed she heard the perpetrator state that he was having difficulty breathing.”
While Adonis is being held accountable, kind of, no one above her in the chain of command is. Not the duty captain, not the zone commander, not the borough commander, not the police commissioner.
This does go all the way to the top of the NYPD: it was Commissioner Bratton who was cracking down the sale of untaxed cigarettes – while not cracking down on the use of chokeholds.
– Abagond, 2016.
- grand jury
- race baiter argument
- Black Lives Matter