A Staten Island grand jury cleared an NYPD cop Wednesday in the chokehold death of Eric Garner during his caught-on-video arrest for peddling loose cigarettes, The Post has learned.
The panel voted a “no-bill” and dismissed all potential charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo, sources said. The blockbuster decision capped weeks of investigation by the special grand jury, which was impaneled in September specifically to review evidence in Garner’s racially charged death. It was unclear exactly what charges prosecutors asked the grand jury to consider filing, or how the vote went.
Here is video of that incident :
According to an article in the New York Post:
Under New York law, an indictment must be agreed upon by at least 12 members of a grand jury, which can have up to 23 members.
Cellphone video of Garner’s July 17 arrest shows Pantaleo wrestling him to the sidewalk on Bay Street, with the white cop’s arms wrapped around the neck of the black suspect.
On the ground, Garner was heard repeatedly yelling “I can’t breathe!” as Pantaleo and other cops held him down and handcuffed him.
The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Garner’s death a homicide caused by “compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”
Police union leaders denied that Pantaleo used a chokehold — which is banned by the NYPD — and blasted the autopsy as part of a “political” witch hunt.
Garner’s family has filed notice it plans to sue the city for $75 million on grounds including wrongful death, pre-death pain and suffering, and civil rights violations.
The family and adviser the Rev. Al Sharpton have also repeatedly called on the feds to investigate his death.
In July, US Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department was monitoring the case, and a group including Garner’s mom, widow and Sharpton met in August with Brooklyn US Attorney Loretta Lynch.
She has since been nominated by President Obama to replace Holder.