In New York, Sunday night marked the fifth consecutive evening of demonstrations against a Staten Island jury’s decision to not indict a cop for the death of Eric Garner. The New York Times reports that about 250 protesters gathered in Union Square and marched to Grand Central Station to hold a “die-in” before going to department stores like Macy’s, Toys ‘R Us, and H&M in Midtown.
According to the Times, police “made arrests,” though the exact number is unknown. (NBC New York reported that “It’s not clear if there were any arrests in Sunday’s demonstrations.) So far, the NYPD has arrested around 300 people, mostly on misdemeanor charges.
Sunday’s protests turned violent elsewhere in the country, however. In Berkeley, at least 500 people took to the streets, Berkeleyside reported. The crowd blocked off buses and traffic, and began throwing rocks at police. Cops used tear gas to disperse the crowd, and began to make arrests.
Video footage showed Officer Daniel Pantaleo arresting Garner, 43, in August. Pantaleo put Garner in a prohibited chokehold, while Garner gasped for breath saying “I can’t breathe” 11 times. After Garner died, a grand jury in Staten Island were asked to consider manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges, though were not asked to consider a lesser charge of reckless endangerment. Though the jury did not indict Pantaleo, the Justice Depertment is currently investigating Garner’s death, and the NYPD is conducting an internal review.
The jury’s non-indictment came just days after a Missouri jury announced its decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown. The events have put a spotlight on racial tensions between police officers and black communities, and sparked massive protests and calls for reform nationwide.
(Photo: Jada Yuan)