Daniel Pantaleo—the former New York City police officer accused in the 2014 death of Eric Garner—filed a wrongful termination lawsuit Wednesday, seeking reinstatement after he was fired from the department in August, reports Fox News.
Pantaleo’s termination following an administrative trial was "arbitrary and capricious," his attorney, Stuart London, told the New York Post. The former officer used a reasonable amount of force and did not mean to hurt Garner, the lawyer said.
Video of the confrontation between Garner and the officers trying to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes in the city's borough of Staten Island drew outrage and was viewed millions of times online.
Pantaleo initiated what prosecutors described as a chokehold, which is banned under police policy, after Garner refused to be handcuffed. The defense argued Pantaleo used an approved "seat belt" maneuver and that Garner's death related to his health issues.
The medical examiner later said Garner's cause of death was asthma brought about by the supposed chokehold.
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill announced Aug. 19 his decision to fire Pantaleo in the case that had spanned five years— a move that sparked immediate backlash from the department’s police union, which blasted the decision as caving to "anti-police extremists."