No Indictment Against NYPD Officer in Eric Garner Chokehold Case, Protests Erupt


Protesters took to the streets in the West Side Highway of Manhattan after a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer for the death in July of an unarmed black man back in an incident on Staten Island.

The protesters, numbering over 100 people, went into a standoff with the police on Dec. 3. At least six of the protesters were detained by the police using plastic restraints. The protesters also organized a "lie-in" in the Grand Central Terminal's main concourse, with people voicing out their anger over the decision of the grand jury in Times Square.

"I'm outraged," said John Grauwiler, one of the protesters. "As a man of color, I'm concerned about the implications of this for me and my friends. I thought the turnout would be different, but this is a wake-up call."

Earlier in the day, a grand jury did not indict Daniel Pantaleo, an eight-year veteran officer of the New York Police Department, for the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner. The black man died due to a chokehold that was placed upon him while he was being arrested for alleged selling of untaxed cigarettes.

The entire incident was recorded on video, wherein Garner could be heard saying "I can't breathe" as several officers were restraining him.

"I can't breathe" was the rallying cry of the protesters, as people assembled in Times Square. The protesters also held their hands up, as they referenced the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Darren Wilson, the white police officer that shot Brown while the black teenager was unarmed, was also not indicted by a grand jury decision.

Protests also erupted after the decision was released, albeit much more violent compared to what the protesters did for the decision on Garner's case.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio urged for peaceful protests, vowing to make reforms in the police force, such as training the officers on different ways for conflict resolution.

Gwen Carr, Garner's mother, also asked protesters to "rally in peace," despite her own disappointment in the decision of the grand jury on the officer that killed her son.

However, Carr said that she was glad for the plans of the Department of Justice to open a civil probe for federal rights on the case.

The lawyer for Pantaleo and officials from the police union argue that the police officer used a move that is taught by the department, and that the maneuver is not banned due to Garner resisting his arrest. They added that it was Garner's health that caused him to die, not Pantaleo's chokehold.

Garner, who possessed a lengthy criminal record, did have health problems relating to asthma.

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