Target: Daniel M. Donovan, Jr., Richmond County District Attorney
Goal: Charge NYPD officer with the killing of Eric Garner
Eric Garner was an African-American 44-year-old father of six who suffered a heart attack and died on July 17, 2014 after being placed in a chokehold by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. Garner repeatedly stated to the officers that he could not breathe, as can be seen in the video of the incident. On December 3, 2014, a grand jury decided not to charge Pantaleo with any crimes. It is unacceptable for police officers to kill black men without facing any consequences.
The police suspected Garner was selling black market cigarettes on the street. Four officers detained him, including Pantaleo, who was using a chokehold despite the fact that it is banned by the police department’s own guidelines. Garner, who had asthma, told the officers that he couldn’t breathe multiple times before dying a few minutes later. The medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide caused by “compression of neck, compression of chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” Despite this ruling, and the fact that the whole incident was caught on camera, Garner’s killer will not even face trial and will walk away without consequences.
This decision, which is sadly reminiscent of the decision about Michael Brown’s death, is part of a long line of recent cases where police brutality against people of color has been condoned and ignored. Please don’t let this become business as usual in this country, and call on the district attorney to charge Pantaleo with the killing of Garner.
Dear Mr. Donovan,
I am writing to you about the recent grand jury decision regarding the death of Eric Garner. Garner, who was suspected of the very low-level crime of selling loose cigarettes, was placed in a chokehold by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. Although he told Pantaleo and the other officers trying to detain him that he couldn’t breathe, they continued to choke him. The father of six died a few minutes later.
The medical examiner’s office ruled Garner’s death a homicide, caused by “compression of neck, compression of chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” Despite this statement, a grand jury decided not to charge Pantaleo with any crime. I do not see how justice has been served in this case. How could someone kill another person for no reason, using a technique that is not allowed by the NYPD’s own guidelines, and not even face a trial?
This man’s life mattered, and so does his death. His family deserves justice. If you don’t believe that justice means killing a father for selling loose cigarettes, please make it clear by charging Pantaleo with the killing of Eric Garner.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Thomas Altfather Good via Wikimedia Commons