Moving forward after the Garner case
The decision of a Staten Island grand jury on Wednesday, December 3 not to indict 29-year-old NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner has unleashed a flurry of activity, both with respect to the Garner case as well as to set in place a process when unarmed civilians are killed by law enforcement officers.
Pantaleo allegedly used a chokehold on the victim, who did not have a weapon, while trying to arrest Garner for selling untaxed cigarettes on July 17, 2013. Garner, who was videotaped repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe,” died as a result of neck compression.
On Monday, December 8, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a letter urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to take executive action directing the office of the attorney general to investigate, and prosecute if warranted, such cases, going forward.
“The horrible events surrounding the death of Eric Garner have revealed a deep crisis of confidence in some of the fundamental elements of our criminal justice system,” said Schneiderman. “Nothing could be more critical for both the public and the police officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe than acting immediately to restore trust and confidence in the independence of reviews in any case involving an unarmed civilian killed by a law enforcement officer. While several worthy legislative reforms have been proposed, the governor has the power to act today to solve this problem. I strongly encourage him to take action now.”