Protesters spread out across NYC after no indictment in Eric Garner’s death
NEW YORK–Protests have erupted throughout New York City after a grand jury decision not to indict a cop in the death of a man.
In July, Eric Garner died after NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo held him in a choke-hold. A graphic video shows Garner screaming “I can’t breathe” repeatedly as he was brought to the ground by Pantaleo.
Police suspected Garner of illegally selling cigarettes at the time. The death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner’s office; the cause of death was “compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police,” according to CNN.
On Wednesday, a grand jury announced that Pantaleo will not be charged in Garner’s death. The announcement came just over a week after Ferguson, Missouri Officer Darren Wilson was also cleared of all charges in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
After the announcement, Pantaleo released a statement: “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.”
According to PIX11, Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner, said she doesn’t accept his apology. At a press conference, she said, “The fight ain’t over, it’s just begun. I’m determined to get justice for my husband.” Garner also leaves behind his children.
After the decision was announced, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference to try and ease tensions. According to CNN, de Blasio said the decision had created “a national moment of pain, a national moment of grief and searching for a solution.”
Despite the grand jury’s decision, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Wednesday that the Justice Department is conducting a federal civil rights investigation into Garner’s death, according to a press release.
This afternoon, I spoke with the widow of Eric Garner to inform her and her family of our decision to investigate potential federal civil rights violations. I’ve also been in touch with President Obama, as well as Mayor de Blasio regarding our decision. Prosecutors will conduct an independent, thorough, fair and expeditious investigation. In addition to performing our own investigative work, the department will conduct a complete review of the material gathered during the local investigation.
According to PIX11, Al Sharpton announced on Wednesday that a national march will be held for both Eric Garner and Michael Brown on Saturday, Dec. 13 in Washington D.C.
Garner’s stepfather, Mario Diaz, spoke to PIX11 after the announcement, and he said, “They ain’t doing nothing about it. They killed my son.” Before the decision, Garner’s mother, Gween Carr, said “I wouldn’t want them to tear up the town but you know that has to stop … they cant go on killing our sons, our fathers, our brothers of color and getting away with it.”
Protests were raging throughout the city after the decision came down. Here are some images, courtesy of Pix 11, of the different gatherings: