A grand jury decided not to indict a New York police officer in the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died shortly after being accosted by police for selling loose, un-taxed cigarettes in July. [...] Garner was about 350 pounds and suffered from asthma. In cell phone video that captures the moments leading up to Garner's death, Garner is seen being wrestled to the ground by [NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo] who appears to have Garner locked in a chokehold, with an arm gripped around his neck. Garner, a 43-year-old father of six can be heard in the video pleading "I can't breathe. I can't breathe."
Soon after Eric Garner was killed following an altercation with police, the New York City Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide, caused in part by "compression of the neck." But as Trymaine Lee reports this afternoon, the officer involved will not face criminal charges.
Garner died en route to the hospital soon after. Pantaleo was placed on modified duty.
Today's news coincides with today's funeral for Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot by police in a Cleveland park.
Protests are still underway in the St. Louis area, meanwhile, stemming from Michael Brown's death.
Each of these stories are, to be sure, individual incidents, worthy of their own attention. The victims' loved ones deserve support, not because of a broader pattern, but because of their unique pain.
That said, the pattern is nevertheless hard to ignore.
Dec. 3, 201401:44