NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted by a Staten Island grand jury for causing Eric Garner’s death via a chokehold this past summer.

No Indictment In Eric Garner Death

The grand jury’s decision was announced Wednesday afternoon, surprising Garner’s family and lawyer.

“We’re astounded by the outcome of the grand jury process and that after hearing months of evidence and having deliberated that they would find no true bill as to any potential criminal charge,” lawyer Jonathan C. Moore told The New York Times. “It’s very upsetting to us – we obviously hope that the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, Loretta Lynch, will take a close look at this.”

In August, Garner was stopped by police, who suspected him of selling untaxed cigarettes. While apprehending him, police brought him to the ground. Pantaleo, as he was restraining Garner, put him in an unauthorized chokehold on the pavement. In the video that captured the incident, Garner can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe.” A medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide. 

Pantaleo, who gave testimony during the grand jury, released a statement expressing his sorrow regarding Garner’s death upon finding out the jury’s decision.

“I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves,” Pantaleo said. “It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner. My family and I include him and his family in our prayers and I hope that they will accept my personal condolences for their loss.”

Garner’s family and supporters plan to protest the grand jury’s decision. Though there have been certain parallels drawn between the grand jury decision in New York and that in Ferguson, Garner’s son Eric Snipes remains confident that the protests in honor of his father’s wrongful death will not turn violent.

“It’s not going to be a Ferguson-like protest,” Snipes told the New York Daily News. “Because I think everybody knows my father wasn’t a violent man and they’re going to respect his memory by remaining peaceful. It’s not going to be like it was there.”

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