Grand Jury Votes Not To Charge Cop In Eric Garner Death
NEW YORK (CBSNews)- A grand jury has declined to indict a New York City police officer who used an apparent chokehold on a man who died after the confrontation on Staten Island, CBS News has confirmed.
Eric Garner, a father of six, died in July after police officer Daniel Pantaleo attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.
The grand jury began reviewing evidence in the case on Sept. 29.
Jonathon Moore, an attorney for the victim’s family, said Wednesday he is “astonished by the decision.”
In cellphone video of the Garner incident, Pantaleo is seen placing his arm around Garner’s neck and then taking him to the ground after Garner refuses to be handcuffed.
Garner is heard saying repeatedly, “I can’t breathe!” He died a short time later.
The New York City Medical Examiner’s office ruled Garner’s death a homicide, caused by the officer’s apparent chokehold as well as chest and neck compressions and prone positioning “during physical restraint by police.”
An independent forensic investigator hired by the Garner family also agreed with the medical examiner’s findings.
The use of chokeholds is banned in the New York Police Department. In September, Commissioner Bill Bratton said in September that officers will get annual training on use of force tactics.
Garner’s death was among a series of controversial fatal confrontations this year between police and young African-American males. The city has seen ongoing protests since a grand jury in St. Louis County, Mo. declined on Nov. 22 to indict Darren Wilson, a police officer accused of killing teen Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo.
New York police have been preparing for days for the possibility of widespread protests in reaction to the grand jury decision.