NYC Council Member Rosie Mendez Statement in Eric Garner Case

Statement re; Grand Jury in Eric Garner Case

For immediate release

                                                                                                         December 4th, 2014

Contact: John Blasco, Communications & LGBT Liaison

jblasco@council.nyc.gov | 212.677.1077

NYC Council Member Rosie Mendez Statement on the Grand Jury Decision in Eric Garner Case

“On December 3rd, a Staten Island Grand Jury failed to indict and deliver any justice to the family of Eric Garner, as well as to Communities of Color in New York City.  I am deeply disappointed in a failure to indict Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold maneuver that led to the death of Eric Garner and for the failure of several NYPD Officers on the scene to intervene when Eric Garner repeatedly stated that he couldn’t breathe. This decision has marked another moment in N.Y. and U.S.history where a person of color is killed and no one is held accountable. We live another day through this difficult reality.

“In New York City we have seen far too many lives taken by an act of hyper-aggressive policing that includes excessive and deadly force. It was just the other week when 28 year old Akai Gurley lost his life because of inexperienced and hyper-aggressive policing. Several years ago, in February of 2012, Ramarley Graham was killed by a police officer who without a warrant kicked down the door of Ramarley’s home and shot him in his bathroom.  The system that was created to “protect” us flawed and continues to fail us.  At the root of this failure is institutionalized racism and we will continue to lose lives if we do not address this root cause.

“Communities of Color are upset, as those that have committed these acts of violence do not suffer any consequences. I stand alongside my colleagues to say this is not just. The decision to not indict Daniel Pantaleo or Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri echoes a message to Communities of Color that our lives are not valued. We have seen this time and time again with the killings of Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Anthony Baez, and Federico Periera.

“We need to hold someone accountable when incidents like this occur. We cannot solely rely on trainings in departments to prevent further killings or brutal injuries of civilians. Sending an officer to a training does not prevent the kind of abuse that we have seen for decades. We need a systemic change.

“I urge the Department of Justice to help bring justice not just to the family of Eric Garner, but to the Ramarley Graham family as well.  I call on Commissioner Bratton to permanently suspend Daniel Pantaleo and suspend the other officers at the scene. New Yorkers need action and answers, otherwise Commissioner Bratton must go.

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