New York Daily News

August 20, 2014


 

Staten Island District Attorney will convene grand jury to weigh criminal charges in death of Eric Garner


District Attorney Daniel Donovan said Tuesday the panel will convene next month. 'Based upon the investigation that my office has conducted to date ...I have determined that it is appropriate to present evidence regarding the circumstances of his death to a Richmond County grand jury,' he said.

BY THOMAS TRACY , BARRY PADDOCK , LARRY MCSHANE 

The family of NYPD chokehold victim Eric Garner stuck to their call Tuesday for a federal probe into his death — even as plans for a Staten Island grand jury were revealed.

Borough District Attorney Daniel Donovan announced the panel would begin considering charges next month in the fatal police arrest of Garner, 43, a father of six.

“Based upon the investigation that my office has conducted to date ...I have determined that it is appropriate to present evidence regarding the circumstances of his death to a Richmond County grand jury,” he said.

“I intend to utilize that grand jury sometime next month to begin presenting evidence in this matter.”

Though the city medical examiner declared Garner’s death a homicide following an autopsy, no one was charged or arrested in connection with his July 17 death.

Both the Rev. Al Sharpton, who’s a Garner family adviser, and lawyer Sanford Rubenstein said the long-anticipated local probe would not sway his widow and other relatives from asking the U.S. attorney to intervene.

“The announcement of the convening of the state grand jury does not in any way impact their request for a federal takeover of this case,” said Rubenstein.

Sharpton, Rubenstein and family members planned a Thursday meeting in Brooklyn with U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.

News of the grand jury was greeted coolly by the dead man’s family, with his widow, Esaw Garner, declining to comment Tuesday.

Garner died during his arrest for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on Staten Island. Video obtained by the Daily News showing Officer Daniel Pantaleo putting Garner in a chokehold sparked outrage.

Several other officers were involved in arresting the 6-foot-4, 300-plus-pound suspect.

“New York City deserves an investigation into the Garner case that is fair and complete,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We are pleased that with today’s announcement, the legal process is now underway.”

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch predicted the grand jury was step one in clearing the officers. It was unclear if Pantaleo would testify, his lawyer said.

ttracy@nydailynews.com