A Staten Island grand jury on Wednesday ended the criminal case against a white New York police officer whose chokehold on an unarmed black man led to the man’s death, a decision that drew condemnation from elected officials and touched off a wave of protests.
The fatal encounter in July was captured on videos and seen around the world. But after viewing the footage and hearing from witnesses, including the officer who used the chokehold, the jurors deliberated for less than a day before deciding that there was not enough evidence to go forward with charges against the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, 29, in the death of the man, Eric Garner, 43.
Officer Pantaleo, who has been on the force for eight years, appeared before the grand jury on Nov. 21, testifying that he did not intend to choke Mr. Garner, who was being arrested for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. He described the maneuver as a takedown move, adding that he never thought Mr. Garner was in mortal danger.
ON THE NEWS TONIGHT: THE "CHOKE HOLD" WAS PUT AWAY 21 YEARS AGO, IT IS IN WRITING, IN THE STATE WHERE THIS OCCURRED.
THE VIDEO IS PRETTY CLEAR; MILLIONS AROUND THE WORLD HAVE SEEN IT. IF THIS WAS NOT A CHOKE HOLD THEN I DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS.
A BLOW TO THE THROAT CAN BE DEADLY; A CHOKE HOLD CAN BE DEADLY. I THINK THE VIDEO IS DARN RIGHT CLEAR THAT THIS WAS A CHOKE HOLD.
GARNER IT IS SAID, HE CRIED OUT ELEVEN TIMES HE COULD NOT BREATH.
SO THIS TIME AROUND THE GRAND JURY TO ME WAS "OUT TO LUNCH ON THIS CASE" - THEY WERE EITHER BLIND, LOOKING THE OTHER WAY, OR PLAIN STUPID IN KNOWING WHAT A CHOKE HOLD WAS.
THE POLICE COULD HAVE SPENT MORE TIME TALKING TO HIM AND CALLING FOR MORE BACK UP. YES HE WAS HUGE AND IF THEY FELT HE WAS TO BE ARRESTED THEY COULD HAVE HAD 10 POLICE TAKE HIM DOWN, WITHOUT A CHOKE HOLD.
I UNDERSTAND IT WAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH CIGARETTES, NOT ROBBING A STORE. HE DID NOT TRY AND FIGHT A POLICEMAN ARRESTING HIM; OR TRY AND GO FOR A POLICEMAN'S GUN.
WITH THE RODNEY KING BEATING SOME YEARS AGO CAUGHT ON TAPE, IT IS OBVIOUS THERE STILL LIES WITHIN THE POLICE FORCE HERE AND THERE, POLICE WHO ARE PUNKS THEMSELVES, HAVE NOT BEEN TRAINED CORRECTLY, OR BOTH.
THE SYSTEM HAS CRACKS IN IT THAT DESPERATELY NEED FIXING; HOPEFULLY THE POLICE FORCE ACROSS AMERICA WILL GET THE DETERMINATION TO FIX IT.
REMEMBER THOUGH, WHATEVER THE INJUSTICE AND ERRORS BY THE POLICE AND GRAND JURY, IT IS NO EXCUSE FOR VIOLENCE OF ANY KIND ON THE PART OF BLACKS OR WHITES, OR ANY OTHER ETHNIC GROUP.