Even with multiple, clear videos of a New York City police officer applying a choke hold that the department’s own rules prohibit, a grand jury decided against an indictment Wednesday in the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, who died after white police officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold.
“What further evidence is required to bring charges against Officer Pantaleo?” asked Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. “This is yet again in-your-face verification that until the rules of engagement are changed—to include legally binding decision-making powers for ordinary citizens—killing unarmed black people is just as legal today for white police officers as it was for Officer Pantaleo’s Slave Patrol forebears.”
CNN reports, “During his fatal police encounter, Garner raised both hands in the air and told the officers not to touch him. Seconds later, a video shows an officer behind him grab him in a chokehold and pull him to the sidewalk, rolling him onto his stomach. “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Garner said repeatedly, his cries muffled into the pavement.
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The cause of Garner’s death was ‘compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police,’ the medical examiner’s office has said. The death was ruled a homicide.”
The Christian Science Monitor reported prior to the announcement that “Like its Missouri counterpart, the Staten Island grand jury has been unusual, both in the duration of the proceedings and the amount of evidence presented. Meeting for months, the secret panel of 16 or as many as 23 jurors has been hearing a full array of evidence, including the testimony of the potential defendant, New York Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo…And just as St. Louis Prosecutor Robert McCulloch did with Officer Wilson, District Attorney Donovan brought in Officer Pantaleo to testify in his own defense, without being subject to adversarial cross examination.”
“It’s like the DAs want to incite civil unrest,” Coleman-Adebayo said. “What are black people
supposed to do when subjected to this onslaught?”
Adding insult to Eric Garner’s murder is the display by CNN of a callousness approaching incitement when its legal expert on such matters is Mark M. Omara, the lawyer who defended vigilante, George Zimmerman who killed Travon Martin after police had ordered Zimmerman to stay in his car. Zimmerman, after being acquitted in the slaying has taken to painting portraits of Travon Martin wearing a hoodie that Zimmerman sells for thousands of dollars.
“The system is beyond broke,” said coalition member, Kevin Berends. “The entire system is under indictment and the whole world is watching to see if America’s exceptionalism—often touted by President Obama and Attorney General Holder—is defined by its adherence to the principles of justice or by its police officers who have gone rogue nationwide.”