Grand jury fails to indict officer involved in death of Garner
NEW YORK –– A grand jury has not charged a New York City police officer over the death of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold by the officer.
The case garnered national attention after a video of Officer Daniel Pantaleo arresting Garner on July 17 became public.
Garner, 43, who had asthma, was heard on the video shouting: “I can’t breathe!”
He was being arrested for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes.
Following the decision, family lawyer Jonathon Moore said he was “astonished, based on the evidence of the video tape, and the medical examiner, that this grand jury at this time wouldn’t indict for anything”.
Garner’s daughter Erica told the BBC the grand jury “are not even human, [and] there is no humanity”.
“On that video you can see the most cruel horrible thing that someone could do to someone,” she added. “It’s just not right.”
Mobile phone video of the incident shot by a witness showed Garner verbally refusing to be handcuffed.
Pantaleo responded by putting Garner in an apparent chokehold, which is banned under New York Police Department policy.
A second video, apparently filmed shortly after the incident, shows Garner lying on the sidewalk.
Three minutes into the video, medics arrived and he was lifted into an ambulance.
A bystander asked why no one was trying to resuscitate him and one officer responded: “Because he’s breathing.” Garner died shortly afterwards.
The city’s medical examiner’s office has said Garner’s death was caused by “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police”, but said other factors contributing to his death included asthma and heart disease.
The grand jury decision comes just one week after another grand jury in Missouri failed to pursue charges against a white police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
That decision sparked widespread riots across the country, and led President Barack Obama to seek emergency funding to improve police training and to restore trust in policing.