NYPD sergeant to lose vacation days over Eric Garner death

She pleaded guilty to administrative charge

By Mark Morales and Evan Simko-Bednarski, CNN
WABC via CNN

(CNN) - A New York Police Department sergeant who was facing disciplinary charges in connection with Eric Garner's 2014 death has reached an agreement where she will lose vacation time.

While sources tell CNN that Sgt. Kizzy Adonis pleaded guilty, her union representative says she agreed to disciplinary charges and signed a settlement agreement. The agreement stipulated she would plead no contest to a charge of failure to supervise, and as a penalty, she was required to forfeit the monetary value of 20 vacation days.

She did not admit any wrongdoing in the 2014 incident in which another officer was found to have placed Garner in a banned chokehold moments before he died.

At a press conference Thursday, Ed Mullins, president of the New York City police sergeants' union, said Adonis pleaded no contest to the disciplinary charge.

"She admitted no misconduct, and maintains she did nothing wrong. She simply refused to play pawn to the city's politics any further," he continued.

Adonis has been on modified duty for three and a half years, according to Mullins, meaning she was relieved of her weapon and taken off of street assignments. The union head said Adonis has been returned to full duty, though she is currently on an administrative assignment.

The department was critical of Adonis on Wednesday, but did not offer any specifics detailing its allegation that the sergeant did not properly supervise officers.

"The police commissioner evaluated Sergeant Adonis' supervision of officers under her command that day, and found that it was lacking in certain areas," NYPD Assistant Commissioner Devora Kaye said in a Wednesday statement.

"That analysis concluded by noting that nothing about her actions that day caused the use of the banned chokehold, or the delayed arrival of medical attention for Mr. Garner," Kaye continued.

Mullins told reporters Thursday that Adonis was not the patrol supervisor on the day Garner died, and that she proactively responded to radio calls from officers on the scene because she happened to be in the area. He said that Garner was already on the ground by the time Adonis arrived, adding that the sergeant told an officer with EMT training to check on Garner, then confirmed that an ambulance was on the way.

"She never saw the alleged chokehold, had no knowledge it even happened until hours later when she was shown a video by the internal affairs bureau," Mullins said.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights leader who has advocated with the Garner family, called the decision to dock Adonis' vacation time "too little, too late."

"If the penalty for not doing your job is that you can keep doing your job, it is an injustice to the family of Eric Garner and the residents of New York City," Sharpton said in a statement.

"We will continue to press for justice on all avenues, including with congressional hearings in the fall," he added.

Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died while police tried to arrest him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island. During that arrest, then-Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed Garner in a banned choke hold, wrapping his arm around garners neck and pulling him to the ground, an NYPD administrative judge found.

In video of the arrest, Garner can be heard telling Pantaleo, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe." The phrase became a mantra for the Black Lives Matter movement and a nationwide push for greater accountability for the use of force by law enforcement authorities.

Pantaleo was fired last week following a departmental trial.

This article has been updated to reflect new reporting regarding the nature of the agreement made in the disciplinary case of Sgt. Kizzy Adonis.

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