Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who can be seen wrapping his arm around Eric Garner's neck before the Staten Island man's death in a video that went viral last week, has been the target of two previous civil rights lawsuits, the Staten Island Advance reports.
The first, settled for $30,000 in January, alleged that Pantaleo and several other officers illegally stopped a car driving in Staten Island's New Brighton neighborhood, then publicly strip-searched the occupants, pulling down their pants and "[touching] and [searching] their genital areas," the Staten Island Advance reports. Pantaleo alleged he saw heroin and crack in plain view on the car's back seat. Darren Collins and Tommy Rice, the plaintiffs in the suit, are black men in their forties.
The second claims that Pantaleo falsely arrested Rylawn Walker in 2012, then incarcerated him for 24 hours. Walker was charged with a marijuana offense that was dropped the next day. That suit is still open.
In a press conference yesterday, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said that every member of the department would be retrained on the use of force in the wake of the incident. Internal investigators have spoken with the FBI, and Bratton said he would "not be surprised," if federal prosecutors pursue a civil rights case.