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More outrage as grand jury fails to indict in Eric Garner death

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 3, 2014 in Crime
The death of a black man being taken into custody for a minor reason - suspicion of selling cigarettes illegally - has sparked more racial outrage. The white officer who killed Eric Garner with a chokehold will not be charged, a grand jury said today.
Video of Eric Gardner's death
Officer Daniel Pantaleo is seen on a video by a passerby on July 17 wrapping his arms around Garner's neck and putting him into the chokehold. Along with other officers, Pantaleo takes Gardner to the ground.
"I can't breathe, I can't breathe," Garner manages to say.
Mr. Garner, 43 and a father of six who had asthma, was put into handcuffs. He was struggling to breathe and put on a stretcher and taken to hospital where he died that day. His death was ruled a homicide by the city's medical examiner's office, who said that he died of "compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police."
The grand jury had 23 persons, 14 white and 9 described as non-white. They needed 12 of those 23 to agree with the decision. The results of the grand jury in terms of numbers and the ethnicity of those who voted one way of the other was not released.
Grand Jury in N.Y. fails to indict
As with the case with Michael Brown, who died in Ferguson under a month after Garner died, the case will be looked at by the U.S. Justice Department to see whether the civil rights of the dead man were violated. Again as in the case with Brown, who was 18 when he was shot by the now-former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, there is no timeline on when the justice department will make its ruling known.
Meantime, the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, tried to calm down the tensions in the city as protesters gathered in the spot where Garner had fallen, which is near the prosecutors office in Staten Island.
"This is a deeply emotional day for the Garner Family, and all New Yorkers," he said in a statement. "His death was a terrible tragedy that no family should have to endure. This is a subject that is never far from my family's minds or our hearts. And Eric Garner's death put a spotlight on police-community relations and civil rights - some of the most critical issues our nation faces today."
Unlike the officer in Ferguson, Officer Pantaleo did offer an apology for Mr. Garner's death: "I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can't protect themselves," his statement said. "It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner. My family and I include him and his family in our prayers and I hope that they will accept my personal condolences for their loss."
His Patrolman's Benevolent Association leader, Patrick Lynch. also issued a statement saying that there were no winners in the grand jury's decision. "It is clear that the officer's intention was to do nothing more than take Mr. Garner into custody as instructed and that he used the take-down technique that he learned in the academy when Mr. Garner refused," he said. "No police officer starts a shift intending to take another human being's life and we are all saddened by this tragedy."
Mr. Lynch failed to address the fact that chokeholds have been prohibited by the New York Police Department.
Rep. Jeffries: "miscarriage of justice"
The politician who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, including Staten Island where Garner lost his life, U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, used words like "outrage" and "disgrace" and "miscarriage of justice" when he spoke of the grand jury's decision.
"It's a blow to our democracy and it should shock the conscious of every single American who cares about justice and fair play," he told media while in Washington. "He was killed in plain sight for all of America to see because this was captured on video. And so it's inexplicable that this grand jury could not return a single charge."
Garner's family is expected to make a comment tonight.
More about eric gardner, new york police officer, Racial tension, daniel paneleo, Ferguson
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