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NYPD Probing Leak of Disciplinary Record for Officer Who Choked Eric Garner

By  Trevor Kapp and Ben Fractenberg | March 22, 2017 5:58pm 

 Eric Garner died after an officer used a chokehold on him while trying to arrest him in Staten Island.
Eric Garner died after an officer used a chokehold on him while trying to arrest him in Staten Island.
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New York Daily News

ONE POLICE PLAZA — The NYPD is trying to determine how the disciplinary record of the police officer who put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold was leaked, officials said Wednesday.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo had seven disciplinary complaints and 14 individual allegations made against him before his fatal run-in with Garner in 2014, Thinkprogress.org reported Tuesday.

“The leak was totally improper,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matter Lawrence Byrne said. “It was illegal. It needs to be investigated.”

Four of the previous complaints against Pantaleo were substantiated, causing him to be docked two vacation days, the report said. 

ThinkProgress said it received his disciplinary history from an anonymous source who claimed to have worked for the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the independent body that reviews accusations made against police officers. 

DNAinfo reported last year that Pantaleo had previously been found guilty of making an "unauthorized frisk without legal authority," causing him to lose those vacation days.

That penalty was made public on NYPD official "Personnel Orders" in February 2016. The department typically publishes and circulates its personnel actions within weeks of disciplinary actions.

Officials insisted at the time that the delay wasn't deliberate and had more to do with a backlog of personnel orders predating then-Commissioner Bill Bratton's swearing in in January 2014.

"Officer Pantaleo's case was treated no differently than any other, and it moved along within all the rest that were caught in this backlog," an NYPD spokesman told DNAinfo last April.

Officer disciplinary histories are not matters of public record.

The CCRB said it is investigating the leak internally.

"If a current or former CCRB staff member were to leak or unlawfully take confidential investigation records, he or she would be subject to termination and possible criminal prosecution," CCRB Senior Adviser Jerika Richardson said in a statement. 

"The CCRB has a zero tolerance policy for unlawful and criminal behavior."