The Root: No Indictment in the Death of Eric Garner?

For The Root Wednesday I wrote a response to the non-indictment of an NYPD officer on charges of killing Eric Garner. Garner was unarmed when Officer Daniel Pantaleo held him in an illegal chokehold. While I wasn’t surprised by the Grand Jury’s ruling I was really disappointed.

There was video. The move was banned and Eric Garner’s death was ruled a homicide.

But in the death of Garner, a father of six from Staten Island, N.Y., these things weren’t enough for a grand jury to bring charges against the officer who killed him. Think about that again: All the overwhelming circumstances and evidence—from the video taken by a passerby to the fact that the asthmatic Garner was being wrestled to the ground using a move the New York Police Department banned back in 1993—none of this was enough for a grand jury to say there could be a trial. None of it was enough to say a crime had been committed.

What is it going to take?

I didn’t expect an indictment, not because I had any inside insight or knowledge beyond being a black woman who grew up reading the newspaper, but because, of course, there would be no indictment. The victim was black and the perpetrator was a white police officer. We’ve seen this scenario over and over again. When it comes to black people killed by white people—especially if that person has police ties— getting a case heard in a courtroom is often the hardest part. Mostly what you get are trials of public opinion with black victims being judged and measured, demonized and dragged in the media.

Read the full story at The Root.

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