A grand jury continued to hear testimony this week as federal prosecutors pushed to close the probe into Eric Garner’s chokehold death that occurred nearly three years ago.
Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer responsible for the illegal chokehold, faces a possible indictment in Garner’s death. However, with the presidential inauguration forthcoming, there’s a chance the case will be dismissed.
The New York Daily News reported prosecutors questioned officers in front of a grand jury at a Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday. The jury first convened about a year ago.
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A few weeks prior, members of the New York Congressional Delegation urged Attorney General Loretta Lynch in to close the case a passionate letter.
“There will be a new DOJ less committed to civil rights enforcement,” the letter stated. “Consequently, the investigation into Mr. Garner’s death may itself be suffocated and die. This result is not only unacceptable for Mr. Garner and his family, but for all communities where the use of excessive force and overly aggressive policing tactics threaten life and liberty.”
Lynch’s presumed predecessor, Senator Jeff Sessions, is a controversial figure with a questionable history of racially-charged remarks and incidents. Given his less-than-favorable track record where matters pertaining to people of color are concered, the concern that he could potentially decline to press charges against Pantaleo is a valid one.
Esaw Garner, Mr. Garner’s widow, said she doesn’t know what’s going to happen, but reiterated, “They’ve got to do something.”
Garner, who would’ve turned 47 years old this year, lost his life after former officer Pantaleo was caught on video placing him in an illegal chokehold during an attempted arrest for allegedly selling cigarettes outside a local convenient store in State Island. The father of six yelled “I can’t breathe” 11 times until he took his last breath on July 17, 2014.
His death was ruled a homicide.