STATEN ISLAND GRAND JURY VERDICT "NOT TO INDICT" IN THE DEATH OF ERIC GARNER
For Immediate Release
December 3, 2014, Release and Statement of Hazel N. Dukes; from the outset of the death of Eric Garner, the NAACP has always believed that the New York City Police Officer who choked Eric Garner and caused his death should have been indicted for deliberately and recklessly causing Mr. Garner’s death; and, if not for deliberate and reckless homicidal criminal conduct, then for some form of manslaughter or negligent homicide.
We maintain that view.
That the grand jury has declined to indict the officer is deeply, deeply disturbing. We will continue to press, with others who care about justice to have the governor appoint a special prosecutor to re-consider this matter. We always believed that, because of the inherent conflict in a local prosecutor presenting evidence against a local police officer employed by a Department with whom the prosecutor is required to work on a daily basis, a special prosecutor was required.
In addition, we will ask the Justice Department to press forward with a federal civil rights indictment against the officer and, as well, to look at and investigate the policies and practices of the NYPD respecting the use of choke holds and the training related thereto; and, in addition, respecting the entire “broken windows” quality of life offense enforcement policy and practice out of which the Garner event derived.
We understand the anger that will flow from the failure of this City’s criminal justice system and process. That being said, we urge calm and we remain confident that, even while protests will take place, those protests will be within the bounds of the law and in the best American tradition.
At the same time, we urge the NYPD to act appropriately in policing the protests so that there is no provocation on the part of the police to transform, by its actions, what is otherwise peaceful protest into something that no one wishes.