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.
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.