The judgment of black teenager, Michael Brown’s incident in Ferguson has been repeated by grand jury of New York in Eric garner’s case. Grand Jury denied bringing criminal charges against a white officer, who was accused in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old unarmed black man. The New York Times reports that the officer named Daniel Pantaleo along with some other officers stopped and frisked Garner for the suspicion of selling loose cigarettes on the streets illegally. The incident took place on 17th July, 2014.The video footage of the incident clearly shows how Pantaleo chokehold Eric, who was again and again shouting ‘I can’t breathe’.
The New York City Medical Examiner’s office declared Garner’s death as homicide. The report stated that the death occurred due to compression of neck (chokehold), chest and prone positioning of police during physical restraint. During the incident, Garner’s hands were up in the air and he told officers not to touch him. The accused officer grabbed him from behind and dragged him to sidewalks. The kind of chokehold applied by Pantaleo is against the standard norms of New York Police.
The proceedings of grand jury are different from normal criminal law trials where criminal lawyers need to be present. They only decide whether evidences are enough to start a criminal trial. They do not determine guilt or innocence. According to law enforcement sources, the grand jury was made of fourteen white and nine non-white members. As per New York Law, at least sixteen jurors must be present to vote and deliberate a decision in a case and at least twelve must vote to pass an indictment order for starting a criminal trial against. In this case, grand jury consisted of twelve jurors, heard the case and concluded that there is no ‘reasonable cause’ of indictment. Except Pantaleo all the other officers have got immunity.