This afternoon, a Staten Island grand jury returned a finding of “no true bill” from its investigation into the choking homicide of Eric Garner by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, meaning that a cop who used a prohibited maneuver that ended the life of unarmed citizen who wasn’t resisting arrest will not be indicted. The facts in the case are well-known, and indisputable—the entire event is on video, after all.
There has been a lot of discussion in the immediate aftermath of the grand jury’s decision, much of it disbelieving. Here’s an incomplete roundup of some of that discussion.
Eric Garner’s widow reacted with shock and dismay Wednesday after a Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict the NYPD officer who killed her husband with a chokehold.
“Oh my God, are you serious?” Esaw Garner, her voice rising in shock and anger, told The Daily News. “I’m very disappointed. You can see in the video that he (the cop) was dead wrong!”
“The grand jury kept interviewing witnesses but you didn’t need witnesses,” the anguished widow said. “You can be a witness for yourself. Oh my God, this shit is crazy.”
Mayor de Blasio (click to enlarge):
Richmond County DA Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. issued a lengthy statement stating that he “applied for a court order…seeking authorization to publicly release specific information in connection with this grand jury investigation.”
Regarding comments that I can or cannot make, unlike other jurisdictions that have statutes that permit a district attorney to disclose specific details regarding what took place during a grand jury proceeding, New York law does not permit a district attorney to engage in such disclosure. Rather, only upon a showing of a compelling and particularized need for access can disclosure of grand jury information, limited as it may be, be made in a public forum.
“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.
Cops on PoliceOne.com, a message board for “verified law enforcement professionals,” weren’t exactly empathetic (h/t Ryan J. Reilly):
Councilwoman Debi Rose, in whose district Garner died, issued this categorical statement (click to enlarge):
Meanwhile, officer Pantaleo feels “very bad”:
And Police Commissioner Bratton was recently seen making puns:
Bill Bratton out here making fucking puns about a man his officers killed in cold blood with their bare goddamn hands pic.twitter.com/RFNnRS3dea
— Alan Pyke (@PykeA) December 3, 2014
You know who was indicted? Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed Garner’s death. In August a Staten Island grand jury indicted Orta on weapons charges for allegedly stuffing an unloaded handgun into the waistband of a 17-year-old. No fingerprints were found on the gun. Orta claims that he was framed in retaliation for filming the fatal chokehold.
This is a sad day.
Follow Phillip Pantuso on Twitter @phillippantuso.