Though much of the U.S. is focused on the racially-charged protests in Ferguson, Missouri, a New York City district attorney is moving forward with his investigation of the death of another African-American man, Eric Garner, who also died in a fatal confrontation with police.
Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan announced on Tuesday that he will soon empanel a grand jury to potentially bring charges regarding Garner’s death, which the city’s medical examiner ruled a homicide in August.
“Based upon the investigation that my office has conducted to date regarding the July 17, 2014, death of Eric Garner, and after a careful review of the recent findings of the Medical Examiner regarding the cause and manner of Mr. Garner’s death, I have determined that it is appropriate to present evidence regarding the circumstances of his death to a Richmond County Grand Jury,” Donovan said in a statement. “I intend to utilise that Grand Jury sometime next month to begin presenting evidence on this matter.”
Several Democratic members of Congress and other critics have accused Donovan, a Republican, of being too close to the NYPD to objectively prosecute the police officer who aggressively arrested Garner shortly before his death. In a video, the officer appeared to use a chokehold — a banned police tactic — to subdue Garner, who repeatedly yelled, “I can’t breathe!”
But Donovan insisted he was simply taking his time in order to be fair in how he approached the case.
“Mindful of the solemn oath to enforce the law that I took when I was first sworn into office as District Attorney in January of 2004, and with a full appreciation that no person is above the law, nor beneath its protection, I assure the public that I am committed to conducting a fair, thorough, and responsible investigation into Mr. Garner’s death, and that I will go wherever the evidence takes me, without fear or favour,” he said.
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