On July 17, almost 23 days before Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, an NYPD cop Daniel Pantaleo killed 43-year-old Eric Garner after putting him into what appeared to be a chokehold.
Although both the cases are often compared to each other, there is one big difference. Unlike Brown’s shooting, there is footage available that shows how Garner was attacked by five NYPD officers.
However, even video evidence isn’t expected to have much of an impact on the grand jury which would decide the fate of Pantaleo – especially after officer Wilson was not charged with Brown’s murder almost a week ago.
In an article written for the Huffington Post, Dominic Carter, author and political television reporter, suggested that there would most probably be no indictment for Pantaleo. His concerns were echoed in Zak Cheney-Rice’s piece for Mic.com who opined that “the odds that [New York’s grand jury] opts to charge an officer with murder are slim-to-none,” citing police-friendly dynamics in previous cases.
Criminal justice expert Eugene O’Donnell, also an ex-NYPD cop, wrote for the New York Daily News that the grand jury’s decision would ultimately come down to finding malice or intent to hurt Garner or a gross disregard for his well-being in order to indict Pantaleo.
The city’s law-enforcement authorities are preparing police officers for possible protests – but the bereaved Garner family doesn’t want that.
After saying he wants Pantaleo indicted for what he did to his father, 18-year-old Eric Snipes assured that Staten Island “won’t burn like Ferguson” if that doesn’t happen.
“It’s not going to be a Ferguson-like protest because I think everybody knows my father wasn’t a violent man and they’re going to respect his memory by remaining peaceful,” Snipes said. “It’s not going to be like it was there.”
As expected, on Wednesday the grand jury decided not to indict Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner.