NY appellate court to hear arguments over public inquiry into 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)

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