A Staten Island grand jury has voted not to bring criminal charges in the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by a white police officer.How many more brothers need to be killed by cops before something, anything, happens?
The decision was reached on Wednesday after months of testimony including from the officer who used the chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo. Mr. Garner died after the violent confrontation. The grand jury reached its decision less than two weeks after a grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., declined to bring charges against a white officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.
For days, the New York Police Department has been readying for a new round of protests, which began in the city after the Ferguson decision and were expected to continue and possibly grow if the grand jury declined to bring charges against the officer.
Jonathan C. Moore, a lawyer for the Garner family, said they hoped that federal prosecutors would continue to examine the case, and he urged people upset by the decision to voice their dismay, but to do so peacefully.
The grand jury, impanelled by District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan Jr. in September, has weighed evidence – including a video recorded by bystanders of Mr. Garner’s violent arrest – and heard testimony from the officers involved.
Grand juries determine whether enough evidence exists for a case to go forward to a criminal trial, either before a jury or a judge. By law, they operate in secret and hear only evidence presented by prosecutors, who also instruct the grand jurors on the law. Defense lawyers are barred from speaking. For a decision, 12 jurors who have heard all the evidence must agree.
An indictment was considered only against Officer Pantaleo, who testified last, on Nov. 21, his lawyer, Stuart London, said. The other officers received immunity, he said.