Hundreds of New York residents took to the streets on Wednesday in protest of the grand jury’s decision not to charge officer Daniel Pantaleo in the choke-hold death of Eric Garner.
The police officer had placed Garner, who was an African-American Staten Island resident, in an illegal choke-hold while arresting him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on 17 July. The 43-year-old father of six died as a result as he suffered from asthma and obesity.
Protesters shout slogans in Times Square, New York (photo: Reuters)
The deadly incident was captured on video and quickly went viral over the Internet, fueling public anger and debate on the frequent occurrences of force by US police, predominantly against minorities.
The video shows Garner arguing with the police officers before Pantaleo puts him in a choke-hold. While the officers were holding him down, Garner pleaded with them, saying repeatedly, “I can’t breathe.”
A photo of Eric Garner is displayed at a makeshift memorial, where he died during an arrest in July, at the Staten Island borough of New York (photo: Reuters)
The jury said on Wednesday it would not indict Pantaleo, despite the medical examiner previously ruling Garner’s death a homicide, making it the second grand jury in just over a week to decline to prosecute a white policeman in the death of an unarmed black man. The other incident occurred in Ferguson, Missouri.
Demonstrator holds her hands up during a protest against the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case, in Times Square in New York. (photo: Reuters)
Following the decision, New Yorkers began peaceful protests, some of which were dubbed “die-ins” and saw protesters lying down on the ground in silence. Protests were further held at Times Square, Union Square and Lincoln Center, from Staten Island to Manhattan.
The demonstrators marched down Broadway and blocked traffic on the West Side Highway as police stood by to keep control. However, 30 arrests were reportedly made.
Demonstrators stage a ‘die-in’ in a protest against the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case during rush hour at Grand Central Terminal in New York (photo: Reuters)