- Iconic 1968 drag documentary ‘The Queen’ finally released on Netflix Friday 9:29 PM
- This TikTok account for Chancellor Palpatine is hilarious Friday 8:43 PM
- Did the Space Force logo rip off Star Trek? Friday 6:24 PM
- Disabled people with service dogs say Uber, Lyft drivers are denying them rides Friday 3:25 PM
- TikTok teen famous for greasy hair ends her 8-year reign Friday 2:48 PM
- Police handcuff brown man at subway station for carrying a toy gun Friday 1:20 PM
- Fake clip of Sanders quoting infamous ‘hot chip’ tweet is duping people online Friday 1:16 PM
- The Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala alleges Scientologists behind dog’s death Friday 12:46 PM
- Eminem responds to critics: ‘This album was not made for the squeamish’ Friday 12:42 PM
- ‘The poet, the poem’ meme takes iconic lines and turns them into art Friday 12:40 PM
- People are making dark memes about the coronavirus Friday 12:27 PM
- Trump camp’s ‘head on a pike’ impeachment threat hit with memes Friday 11:34 AM
- What is the #FreeBritney movement, and why is Cher tweeting about it? Friday 10:52 AM
- This YouTuber claims the Saudi government plotted to kidnap him on U.S. soil Friday 10:30 AM
- Report: Jack Dorsey declined to host a fundraiser for Tulsi Gabbard Friday 10:22 AM
The fireworks began early at tonight’s second round of the second Democratic presidential debate.
During opening remarks, the crowd erupted into chants when Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) was speaking. The hecklers got so loud that the moderators temporarily halted the proceedings.
Cory Booker's introduction is interrupted by a "Fire Pantaleo" chant. pic.twitter.com/3AqFKhZOkw— Contemptor (@TheContemptor) August 1, 2019
Turns out that they were shouting, “Fire Pantaleo” and were referring to Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner with a chokehold in 2014, yet another incident of a white officer killing an unarmed Black civilian that in recent years sparked protests and public debate.
The heckling was actually directed at NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who spoke prior to Booker and has been heavily criticized for not firing Pantaleo. (New York state Senator Luis Sepulveda recently said at a de Blasio event that “if due process permitted an immediate firing, I believe the mayor would have fired him immediately,” according to the New York Post.)
People were naturally confused because, last we checked, New York isn’t part of New Jersey.
Hecklers reportedly yelling "Fire Pantaleo," the Staten Island cop involved in the Eric Garner death, at Cory Booker, former mayor of Newark, which is in New Jersey. #DemDebate— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) August 1, 2019
Cory Booker’s opening statement is interrupted by chants of “Fire Pantaleo” — a reference to the cop involved in Eric Garner’s death. (Would’ve made more sense during Bill de Blasio's statement, but ok…)— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) August 1, 2019
Fire Pantaleo. They’re NYC folk. That was for @BilldeBlasio— Jerónimo Saldaña (@JeronimoSaldana) August 1, 2019
Cory Booker interrupted by chants of “Fire Pantaleo!”— Joe Gomez (@JoeGomezNews) August 1, 2019
📌 Daniel Pantaleo is the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold, killing him.
📌 Booker blasted U.S. AG William Barr’s decision to overrule career prosecutors and not bring charges against Pantaleo. #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/gAmjlQG2C9
The demonstrators were shouting, "Fire Pantaleo," the NYPD cop who killed Eric Garner and is back on the force. Why they were yelling it at Cory Booker is beyond me.#CNNDebate— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) August 1, 2019
After the crowd quieted down, Booker recovered admirably and continued with his speech.
Later in the debate, de Blasio was asked about the case. He said that he knows the Garner family and they’ve been through a lot, that he has confidence that “in the next 30 days” the wheels of justice will begin to turn, and that the Justice Department told New York not to proceed
“There will never be another tragedy, there will never be another Eric Garner because we are changing fundamentally how we police,” de Blasio said, before turning to former Vice President Joe Biden to ask what he did to pursue justice for Garner.
But even more impressive, his social media team was quick to turn the moment into an opportunity and tweet support for the hecklers minutes after the interruption.
That is impressive social media.
- After Steve Bullock’s debate night, Montana wants to know: Who is the governor?
- No, Ilhan Omar, Nancy Pelosi, and El Chapo’s wife aren’t conspiring in Italy
- RIP John Delaney’s campaign, which died tonight at the hands of Elizabeth Warren
Got five minutes? We’d love to hear from you. Help shape our journalism and be entered to win an Amazon gift card by filling out our 2019 reader survey.
Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.