A Staten Island grand jury has announced its decision to not indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo with criminal charges related to the death of Eric Garner. Pantaleo used a prohibited chokehold while arresting Garner back in July. A medical examiner later ruled the incident a homicide and confirmed Garner’s death was a result of the chokehold, which exacerbated his asthmatic condition.
The New York Times has a rundown of what a grand jury process entails:
Grand juries determine whether enough evidence exists for a case to go forward to a criminal trial, either before a jury or a judge. By law, they operate in secret and hear only evidence presented by prosecutors, who also instruct the grand jurors on the law. Defense attorneys are barred from speaking. For a decision, 12 jurors who have heard all the evidence must agree.
That explanation means that all twelve jurors involved in the Garner/Pantaleo case must have been presented with the available evidence (which includes a video of Garner being in a sustained chokehold), were told that the situation was ruled a homicide, and knew that chokeholds are prohibited. Yet, the jurors still somehow believed there wasn’t enough evidence to go to trial.
The “lack of evidence” is embedded above. The aftermath of that “lack of evidence” is embedded below.