The death of Eric Garner—a Staten Island, N.Y., man who died last month after a local cop placed him in a chokehold—will be reviewed by a special grand jury in September, the Staten Island district attorney, Daniel Donovan said Tuesday.
“Based upon the investigation that my office has conducted to date regarding the July 17, 2014, death of Eric Garner, and after a careful review of the recent findings of the Medical Examiner regarding the cause and manner of Mr. Garner’s death, I have determined that it is appropriate to present evidence regarding the circumstances of his death to a Richmond County Grand Jury,” Donovan said in a statement.
"I assure the public that I am committed to conducting a fair, thorough, and responsible investigation into Mr. Garner's death, and that I will go wherever the evidence takes me, without fear or favor," the Republican district attorney said.
The New York Police Department allege that Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, was selling untaxed cigarettes when police confronted him. A video of the incident shows that after Garner refused arrest, he was placed in an apparent chokehold by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo and died shortly afterward.
The New York City medical examiner stated on Aug. 1 that Garner died from a chokehold, citing the death as a homicide.
The family of Garner, along with a number of community groups and activists, are calling for the prosecution of Officer Pantaleo, who has been placed on modified reassignment.
“We’re looking for an indictment either on federal or state charges of the officers involved,” said Kirsten Foy, president of the Brooklyn Chapter of the National Action Network, in an interview with BET.com. “We would like to see murder charges from the state but that doesn’t happen often with police officers. But this case has been unprecedented in many ways.”
Last week several members of New York's congressional delegation, all Democrats, joined activists' calls for a federal prosecution of the killing, questioning whether Donovan's close relationship with local police might compromise his investigation.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Family photo via National Action Network)