Cop Not Indicted in Choke Hold Death of Eric Garner, Father of 6 (VIDEO)

Following on the heels of Ferguson, a grand jury has decided not to indict a police officer who was caught on camera putting a father of six, Eric Garner, in a choke hold. He subsequently died and his death was ruled a homicide. The Staten Island, New York, grand jury came to its conclusion today. Garner's widow, Esaw, was astonished at the news and reportedly gasped, "Oh my God, are you serious?" when the New York Daily News broke the news to her.

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Garner was known to police for selling loose cigarettes on the streets of Staten Island when he was approached by cops trying to arrest him. But insisting he wasn't doing anything wrong (he appears to have no cigarettes on him and friends said he was not selling them), he refused and asked police to stop harassing him.

However, they were determined to bring him in. He was just as determined not to go and begged the police to leave him alone, repeatedly saying he wasn't doing anything. A man who filmed the scene said Garner had done nothing except just broken up a fight.

Soon several cops surrounded him and took the 400-pound man down, despite the fact that he was unarmed and not threatening anyone. Nor did he appear to be belligerent, other than that understandably he was upset about being arrested.

In the video, you can see Officer Daniel Pantaleo put Garner in a choke hold. Despite the fact that Garner repeatedly said, "I can't breathe," cops didn't let up on him. He then seemed to pass out. He died later at a hospital.

Esaw Garner is suing the city and now she says she will file a complaint with the US Department of Justice.

Garner may have had a long petty criminal history, but the video does appear to show him not doing anything illegal. A choke hold, on the other hand, is banned by the NYPD.

But the jury may have been hampered by the fact that they would have to believe that Pantaleo intended to hurt Garner. Police are given a broader scope to use force than regular folk are. Someone who choked Eric Garner to death but didn't "intend" to do it would have most likely been charged with manslaughter. Given that the bar is so high for cops, it's not unusual that so many juries decline to indict them for harming or killing civilians. Many would argue that this rule gives police too much leeway to use deadly force when it's not necessary.

It remains to be seen how New York City will handle this verdict.

What do you think of this decision?


Image via We Want Justice for Eric Garner/Facebook

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