NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo will not be indicted on any charges relating to the death of Staten Island man Eric Garner. Even though the New York City medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide due to the compression around the neck that Garner suffered when Pantaleo wrestled him down during an arrest with a chokehold, the officer will face no charges. Garner, who weighed about 350 pounds and suffered from asthma, complained during the arrest that he couldn’t breathe. A number of NYPD officers confronted and then arrested Garner for selling loose cigarettes on the street.
Garner’s July arrest and the chokehold by Pantaleo was captured on a cellphone video, which can be seen below:
The news of Garner’s death sparked protests over the summer that grew even louder after Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Garner’s death was just one of a number of instances where unarmed black men were killed due to confrontations with police this year.
Right now, it is not clear how many jurors on the grand jury agreed not to bring charges against Pantaleo. Also, it was not made readily available what charges the officer was facing. In a New York City grand jury, as many as 23 people makeup the jury. At least 12 have to vote for an indictment for the prosecutor to move forward with charges. In this instance, the grand jury returned with a ‘no true bill.’ Per MSNBC, 23 jurors made up this grand jury. Of those, 14 are white and nine are non-white, with five being black.
The news of no indictment will definitely not ease racial tension across the nation. Since Wilson was not indicted last week, protests have continued across the nation. During the post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend, demonstrations took place on the streets and in shopping centers, leading to a drop in Black Friday sales. Since then, demonstrations have included protesters walking out of work and school in what has been described as ‘Hands Up, Walk Out.’ Prior to Wednesday afternoon’s announcement, a number of actions were seen across the nation where students and workers had walked out.