This video still from footage of Eric Garner’s arrest in 2014 shows NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo putting Garner in a chokehold in Staten Island, New York City. (YouTube)

It has taken more than two years and three months, but Daniel Pantaleo, the New York policeman responsible for putting Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold on Staten Island on July 17, 2014, may soon be indicted. That is, if a new intervention by the Department of Justice fulfills its aim.

The New York Post broke the story Tuesday, citing a “law enforcement source” who told the paper that federal investigators from Washington had supplanted a Brooklyn-based team to expedite the process and ensure that Pantaleo is indicted.

According to the Post, this swap-out didn’t sit well with the local authorities:

The New York feds are privately seething. They accused their Beltway colleagues of trying to “make an example out of Pantaleo” at any cost, said one source familiar with the case. “We already … came to a conclusion which they didn’t like. It’s truly disgraceful what they’re doing,” the source said.

As President Obama’s time in office runs out, his administration could well be pushing for resolution in a high-profile case that has been held up by Garner’s supporters and members of the Black Lives Matter movement as emblematic of the violence inflicted on African-Americans by police throughout the country.

Garner, 43, had been arrested more than 30 times and had filed a complaint alleging abusive treatment by the NYPD. He was in the process of being arrested again on charges of illegally selling cigarettes when Pantaleo, then 29, put him in a chokehold, flouting a department-wide ban on that maneuver, and brought him to the ground. Garner, who was asthmatic, was heard saying “I can’t breathe” repeatedly before an ambulance arrived, and he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

Garner’s neighborhood friend Ramsay Orta captured the altercation on video, which quickly went viral and turned “I can’t breathe” into a rallying cry at nationwide protests against police brutality.

The Justice Department launched its own investigation into Garner’s case Dec. 3, 2014, just after a Richmond County grand jury decided not to charge Pantaleo. Kizzy Adonis, a sergeant on the scene of Garner’s arrest, was charged last January with failure to supervise and was stripped of her badge and gun.

Last month, news circulated that Pantaleo had received a significant pay raise in fiscal year 2016, even though he had been put on modified duty.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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