A grand jury has decided not to indict a NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the choke hold death of an unarmed Staten Island man Eric Garner.
Garner died on Jul. 17th after officer Pantaleo put him in a choke hold after he and seven other officers wrestled Garner to the ground. Garner’s death was ruled a homicide by the city examiner after it was ruled that the compression on his chest and choke hold was the cause of his death.
The grand jury consisted of 23 people and required a vote from 12 in order to pursue criminal charges against Pantaleo. Pantaleo along with his partner Justin D’Amico testified in front of the grand jury.
The Garner family had hope that justice would be served due to a bystander recording the whole ordeal on video, but that was not the case.
“We’re astounded by the outcome of the grand jury process and that after hearing months of evidence and having deliberated that they would find no true bill as to any potential criminal charge,” said the family’s lawyer Jonathan C. Moore in a brief phone interview with the New York Times.
Officer Pantaleo has expressed his sympathy for the Garner family.
“I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves,” Officer Pantaleo said. “It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner. My family and I include him and his family in our prayers and I hope that they will accept my personal condolences for their loss.”
Though there will be no criminal charges brought against the officers, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said that there may be up to three investigations into the incident that could lead to federal charges and a civil case.
The family is still pursuing a $75 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city.