NY appellate court to hear arguments over public inquiry into death of Eric Garner

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
NYPD officer won't face federal charges in Eric Garner chokehold death
The Justice Department has declined to file federal civil rights charges against the officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- One year after George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis, a New York appellate court will hear arguments over the need for a public inquiry into the 2014 death of Eric Garner, whose dying words "I can't breathe" became a national rallying cry.

A lower court allowed for a judicial inquiry beginning in July, siding with the Racial Justice Project at New York Law School, which said the Garner family has endured "nearly seven years of false promises about transparency" from top city officials

"It is difficult to conceive of a matter more worthy of transparency: a police killing of an unarmed civilian, preceded by a questionable stop, followed by inadequate medical treatment," the Racial Justice Project said in a filing to the Appellate Division.

The City of New York conceded Garner's death "is of singular importance to his family, his community, the City, and indeed the nation" but it is appealing to stop the inquiry because the incident has already been well-documented.

"There has already been a public trial covering seven days, 15 witnesses, and a thousand transcript pages," the city said.

"Petitioners' desire to question witnesses themselves, while understandable, cannot justify a summary inquiry into matters that are so well-documented."

If allowed to proceed, the inquiry before a Manhattan Supreme Court judge could include public testimony from Mayor de Blasio and former Police Commissioner James O'Neill, who opted to fire Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who put Garner into an unauthorized chokehold.

(Video in media player from previous coverage)

ALSO WATCH | 'Ghost Light: Broadway's Long Intermission' | Full documentary

Eyewitness News pulls back the curtain in a powerful new documentary, 'Ghost Light: Broadway's Long Intermission,' chronicling the personal struggles of performers, florists, dry cleaners, and an ENT doctor who treats the voices of Broadway singers.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube