Back to
De Blasio on the Eric Garner case

“[The Eric Garner family] are going to get justice. There’s finally going to be justice. I have confidence in that — in the next 30 days, in New York. You know why? Because for the first time, we are not waiting on the federal Justice Department, which told the city of New York that we could not proceed because the Justice Department was pursuing their prosecution, and years went by, and a lot of pain accrued.”

— New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

De Blasio has been criticized for inaction on the Eric Garner case, and this defense he gave at the debate was false.

New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo was accused of killing Garner, an African American man, in 2014, after encountering him selling loose cigarettes. Pantaleo used a chokehold prohibited by the police department.

Five years later, Pantaleo remains a New York police officer. The state of New York did not charge him. The Department of Justice investigated the case and declined to bring charges.

De Blasio said he held off on taking action on the case because the Justice Department “told the city of New York that we could not proceed.” That’s false. The Justice Department requested that the city hold off but did not block de Blasio from taking action, as New York City journalists were quick to point out.

Fact-checking the second Democratic debate
Democratic 2020 presidential candidates (L-R) Sen. Michael F. Bennet (Colo.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio pose together before the start of the second night of the second 2020 presidential Democratic candidates debate in Detroit, Wednesday. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Twenty candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination are again taking the stage — 19 who were on the stage during last month’s debate and one, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who was seen by debate-watchers for the first time Tuesday. The debate, hosted by CNN, began airing at 8 p.m. Eastern; the Fact Checker is writing on the candidates’ claims here.

Here’s what the Fact Checker found during the first debate.