NY cop will not be indicted for Eric Garner chokehold death

A Staten Island grand jury came to the decision on Wednesday

Published December 3, 2014 7:45PM (EST)

A memorial for Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, July 21, 2014.                  (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)
A memorial for Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, July 21, 2014. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

As of Wednesday afternoon, a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict New York Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who performed a fatal chokehold on Eric Garner while attempting to arrest him. The decision is surprising, especially after the New York medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.

The case gained widespread notoriety after a video of the incident depicting Garner yelling "I can't breathe!" circulated on the Internet.

The New York Times' J. David Goodman and Al Baker report:

The grand jury, impanelled by District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan Jr. in September, has weighed evidence -- including a video recorded by bystanders of Mr. Garner's violent arrest -- and heard testimony from the officers involved...

The case exposed lapses in police tactics -- chokeholds are banned by the Police Department's own guidelines -- and raised questions about the aggressive policing of minor offenses in a time of historically low crime. The officers, part of a plainclothes unit, suspected Mr. Garner of selling loose cigarettes on the street near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, a complaint among local business owners.

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Officer Pantaleo's gun and badge have been taken from him, although it is unclear whether or not he will return to the NYPD.

The grand jury's decision comes just over a week after a similar grand jury in St. Louis, Mo. decided not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

By Joanna Rothkopf

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Eric Garner Grand Jury New York Police Department Staten Island