Cop Who Choked Staten Island Man to Death Won't Be Indicted

Human Rights

A Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict the officer who put an illegal chockhold on Eric Garner that ultimately took his life, the New York Daily News reports

Garner's widow was shocked by the decision. “Oh my God, are you serious?” Esaw Garner, her voice rising in shock and anger, told the Daily News. “I’m very disappointed. You can see in the video that he [the police officer] was dead wrong!”

The grand jury, which sources said consisted of 15 white and eight black or Hispanic jurors, didn't agree. After reviewing evidence for several months, the jurors determined there wasn't enough evidence to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who choked Garner to death. According to the New York Times, District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan Jr. impaneled the grand jury in September and they heard testimony from the officers involved in Garner's arrest.

Grand juries, by law, operate in secrecy and hear only evidence presented by prosecutors, according to the Times. Defense lawyers are barred from the process and 12 of the jurors have to agree for a final decision to be made. An indictment was only considered against Officer Pantaleo; the other cops received immunity. 

The NYPD has been preparing for any unrest in the event the grand jury ruling did not result in Officer Pantaleo's indictment. In late August, AlterNet was on the ground in Staten Island where a mass protest organized in solidarity with Garner's family proceeded without a single arrest or confrontation with police. 

Officer Pantaleo has been stripped of his gun and badge since Garner's death. It is unclear when or if he will return to active duty. He still may face NYPD discipline. 

Esaw Garner has no choice but to accept the jury's decision. “I guess I have to go with the next step,” she said.

According to Newsday, an attorney for the Garner family says the family plans on bringing a civil suit and pressing the feds to investigate the case. 

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