Outrage greets decision to not charge white US cop in chokehold death

World | 17 Jul 2019 1:54 pm

The family of Eric Garner, whose suffered a chokehold death in New York City in 2014, was incensed by the decision os US Attorney General William Barr to not prosecute the white policeman, Daniel Pantaleo.

“This should have been taken care of years ago,” said Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, a vocal police reform advocate since her son’s death. “This should have been taken care of under the Obama administration. Then we would have had a fairer playing ground.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton renewed his calls for the New York Police Department to fire the 34-year-old Pantaleo, who’s been on desk duty since Garner’s death and is awaiting the results of a disciplinary hearing that could lead to his firing. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said it expects a decision by August 31.

“Five years ago, Eric Garner was choked to death,” Sharpton said. “Today, the federal government choked Lady Justice, and that is why we were outraged.”

Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, said the policeman, “is gratified that the Justice Department took the time to carefully review the actual evidence in this case rather than the lies and inaccuracies which followed this case from its inception.”

Pantaleo’s union president, Pat Lynch, said: “scapegoating a good and honorable officer, who was doing his job in the manner he was taught, will not heal the wounds this case has caused for our entire city.”

Garner’s death — after he refused to be handcuffed for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes — came at a time of a growing public outcry over police killings of unarmed black men that gave impetus to the national Black Lives Matter movement. Just weeks later, protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, over the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

When a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo on state charges in December 2014, demonstrations flared in New York and several other cities.

Amid those demonstrations, a man angry about the Garner and Brown cases ambushed and fatally shot two New York City police officers as they sat in their cruiser, further shocking the city and leading to the creation of the pro-police Blue Lives Matter movement.

Police reform advocates said the decision not to charge Pantaleo was upsetting but to be expected.

Joo Hyun Kang, the director of Communities United for Police Reform, said it was “outrageous but not shocking.”

Hawk Newsome, the head of the New York area Black Lives Matter chapter said, “It’s America, man.”

“As a black man in America I have no expectation that we will receive justice in court without radical change in this country,” Newsome said.-AP

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