No indictment for cop in NYC choke death

2014-12-03 22:45
(AP)

(AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - A New York City grand jury cleared a white police officer on Wednesday in the videotaped choke hold death of an unarmed black man who had been stopped on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, a lawyer for the victim's family said.

The decision in Staten Island not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo threatened to add to the tensions that have simmered in the city since the 17 July death of Eric Garner - a case that sparked outrage and drew comparisons to the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Missouri.

As with Brown's death in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, the Garner case sparked protests, accusations of racist policing and calls for federal prosecutors to intervene.

Jonathon Moore, an attorney for the victim's family, said he was told of the grand jury's decision.

"I am actually astonished based on the evidence of the video tape, and the medical examiner, that this grand jury at this time wouldn't indict for anything, is really just astonishing," Moore said.

The decision comes just a week after a St Louis area grand jury decided not to indict the white police officer who shot Brown, which prompted violent protests.

Unlike the Missouri protests, demonstrations in have New York remained mostly peaceful. The case also prompted Police Commissioner William Bratton to order officers at the largest US police department to undergo retraining on use of force.

The Staten Island district attorney's office didn't immediately respond to a call.

The grand jury could have considered a range of charges, from a murder charge to a lesser offence like reckless endangerment.

A video shot by an onlooker and widely viewed on the internet showed the 43-year-old Garner telling a group of police officers to leave him alone as they tried to arrest him.

Pantaleo responded by wrapping his arm around Garner's neck in an apparent choke hold, which is banned under NYPD policy.

The heavyset Garner, who had asthma, was heard repeatedly gasping, "I can't breathe!" A second video surfaced that showed police and paramedics appearing to make no effort to revive Garner while he lay motionless on the ground. He later died at a hospital.

The medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide and found that a choke hold contributed to it. A forensic pathologist hired by Garner's family, Michael Baden, agreed with those findings, saying there was haemorrhaging on Garner's neck indicative of neck compressions.

Police union officials and Pantaleo's lawyer have argued that the officer used a take-down move taught by the police department, not a choke hold, because he was resisting arrest and that Garner's poor health was the main reason he died.

There was no immediate comment from Pantaleo's attorney nor the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, a union that has strongly backed the officer.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
71 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.