- New York grand jury votes not to indict officer over Eric Garner’s death
- Obama on decision: ‘We are not going to let up’
- Grand jury declines to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo
- Pantaleo: ‘I feel very bad’
Reverend Al Sharpton is now speaking with members of Eric Garner’s family and their attorney, on his show PoliticsNation.
“There’s a whole range of charges they could have considered here, the fact that they came up with nothing is really, in our judgement, outrageous,” said the family attorney Jonathan Moore about the grand jury’s decision not to charge officer Pantaleo.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has released a statement saying Garner’s death was “nothing short of tragic” and calling for protests to remain peaceful:
The circumstances surrounding his death were nothing short of tragic. And while there will be people who disagree with today’s grand jury decision, it is important that we respect the legal process and rule of law. At the same time, the justice system also allows for additional investigations and reviews, and it may be appropriate for the federal government to do so in this case. And if there are improvements to be made and lessons to be learned, we at the state level are ready to act to better the system.
De Blasio says peaceful protest and nonviolent activism “is the only thing that’s ever worked” to bring about change. He discourages vandalism. He closes with a Martin Luther King Jr quote. “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.”
De Blasio says “It’s all our problem. And anyone who believes in the values of this country should feel a call to action right now.”
The focus of the president and attorney general on the case “is powerful,” de Blasio continues.
“Change is happening right now,” he says, “because the people willed it to happen. .. .The people willed this change to happen.”
De Blasio continues: “Our history forces us to say black lives matter,” he says. “It should be self-evident.”
He says that investigations are ongoing. “There are more chapters ahead,” including a police department investigation and a federal probe, he says. “The federal government is clearly engaged and poised to act,” De Blasio says.
De Blasio says he and his wife, Chirlane McCray, have instructed their son, who is mixed race, on how to be careful around police in New York.
We “have had to Dante for years about the dangers he may face. .. Because of a history that still hangs over us, we’ve had to train him as families have... in how to take special care in any interaction with the police officers who are there to protect him.”
“It’s a very emotional day for our city. It’s a very painful day for so many people of this city... We’re grieving again over the loss of Eric Garner... a man who should be with us and isn’t. That pain, that simple fact, is felt again so sharply today.”
De Blasio: “Tonight there was a particular sense of challenge and of pain.”
He has just met with clergy leaders and city council members and officials in Staten Island.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is speaking in an appearance on Staten Island. “There’s a lot of pain and frustration in the room, at the same time a lot of purposefulness,” he begins.
The Guardian’s Mae Ryan is at a protest in Times Square:
Amnesty International urges the justice department “to collect and publish national data annually” on people killed by law enforcement officers,” in a statement issued this afternoon and attributed to Amnesty US executive director Steven W. Hawkins:
The death of Eric Garner, along with those of Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice and others around the country demonstrate the need for a national review on the use of force by law enforcement officers. Amnesty International is urging the Department of Justice to conduct such a review and to collect and publish national data annually on the number of people killed each year by law enforcement.”
It’s time for peaceful – but disruptive – protests in New York City and beyond, writes Steven W Thrasher in Comment Is Free:
Some will say protesters need to be peaceful, to be respectful. They will say this after Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death with a forbidden chokehold, walks free – news that is not any more surprising than the news that Darren Wilson was not indicted for the shooting death of Mike Brown.
And, yes, the protesters should be peaceful – but we need to be disruptive. Because the same structural racism exists in New York City that does in Ferguson, as it does everywhere in the United States. As President Obama said on Wednesday night: “This is an American problem.” And no holiday lights should be lit while the light of justice is snuffed out for so many.
Representative Michael Grimm, the congressman from Staten Island who won reelection last month but faces a trial on federal corruption charges in February, has released a statement “applauding” the “integrity” of the county prosecutor:
There’s no question that this grand jury had an immensely difficult task before them, but I have full faith that their judgment was fair and reasoned and I applaud DA Donovan for overseeing this case with the utmost integrity. As we all pray for the Garner family, I hope that we can now move forward and begin to heal together as a community.”
Rep. Charles Rangel, the long-serving congressman from Harlem, held a news conference to decry the grand jury decision not to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Rangel said that before Garner died, he was surrounded by police officers, and “no one else touched him, and the grand jury did not say he committed suicide.”
I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves. 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.”
A protest at Grand Central station in midtown Manhattan:
President Barack Obama addressed the decision of a grand jury not to indict officer Pantaleo, in remarks at the White House tribal nations conference.
“This is an issue that we’ve been dealing with for too long...” Obama said. “I’m not interested in talk, I’m interested in action. I’m absolutely committed as president of the United States” to ensure equality before the law.
District attorney Daniel M. Donovan of Richmond County, which comprises Staten Island, has drawn an explicit link between today’s grand jury decision and the decision nine days ago of a St Louis County grand jury not to indict officer Darren Wilson.
Donovan’s office released a statement explaining the decision to convene a special grand jury in the killing of Eric Garner:
Clearly, this matter was of special concern in that an unarmed citizen of our County had died in police custody. For that reason, a dedicated grand jury was empanelled exclusively to hear this case, committed to serving in that capacity for the months the investigation would entail. All 23 members of this community who comprised the Grand Jury in this matter dutifully fulfilled that commitment by attending each and every one of the sessions that began on September 29, 2014, and concluded on December 3, 2014.
Recent events in other jurisdictions may have created unrealistic expectations regarding what can be disclosed regarding the proceedings of a New York grand jury. For example, the state of Missouri has enacted “Sunshine Laws” that permit disclosure of grand jury testimony and evidence.
The New York civil liberties union has called for an end to a police department “culture of impunity” after Eric Garner’s death in police custody.
“The failure of the Staten Island Grand Jury to file an indictment in the killing of Eric Garner leaves New Yorkers with an inescapable question: How will the NYPD hold the officers involved accountable for his death?” NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman said in the statement:
And what will Commissioner Bratton do to ensure that this is the last tragedy of its kind? Unless the Police Department aggressively deals with its culture of impunity and trains officers that they must simultaneously protect both safety and individual rights, officers will continue to believe that they can act without consequence.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued a statement on the grand jury decision, in advance of an appearance scheduled for 4.45pm ET.
De Blasio says many people didn’t want “today’s outcome”. He urges “non-violent protest”. He also reminds people that two investigations into the incident remain open – a federal investigation and an NYPD investigation.
“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 most critical issues our nation faces today.
“Today’s outcome is one that many in our city did not want. Yet New York City owns a proud and powerful tradition of expressing ourselves through non-violent protest. We trust that those unhappy with today’s grand jury decision will make their views known in the same peaceful, constructive way. We all agree that demonstrations and free speech are valuable contributions to debate, and that violence and disorder are not only wrong – but hurt the critically important goals we are trying to achieve together. [...]
Good afternoon and welcome to our liveblog coverage of reaction to the announcement that a Staten Island grand jury has decided not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death in July of Eric Garner.
Garner, a father of six, died after being placed in a chokehold – banned under police policy – by officer Daniel Pantaleo. Police suspected Garner of selling loose cigarettes.
New York mayor on Garner decision: 'our history forces us to say black lives matter' – live
Tom McCarthy and Jessica Glenza
Wed, 03 Dec 2014 23:15:21 GMT