Coalition of local leaders call for changes to restore trust and accountability
By Miriam Raftery
Photo by Ben Reid, Creative Commons image on FlickR
December 4, 2014 (San Diego)--For the second time in the past two weeks, a Grand Jury has failed to indict a white police officer for killing a black man. The latest decision was in New York, where jurors declined to charge a police officer in the choking death of Eric Garner.
Unlike the now-famous case in Ferguson, Missouri where a Grand Jury acquitted a white police officer of shooting and killing an unarmed black man who some witnesses said had his hands up in a surrender position, the case in New York was documented on videotape by a friend of Garner’s.
Yet jurors refused to prosecute the officer in New York, even though the video showed the officer using a chokehold to subdue Eric Garner, who was accused of selling cigarettes without paying taxes, while several other officers surrounded him. The video shows Garner clearly stating “I can’t breathe” at least 11 times in a panicked voice before passing out. A second video shows police standing by, making no effort to resuscitate Garner, before an ambulance arrived. The father of six, a large man who also suffered from asthma, was taken to a local hospital, where he died.