Following the news that the Staten Island grand jury will not indict the police officer who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold and caused his death, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio released a statement expressing that his administration will work on “changing the culture of law enforcement” that contributed to Garner’s death.
Garner died in July after a police officer restrained him while attempting to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes. The chief medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, caused by “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”
On Wednesday, the Staten Island district attorney Daniel Donovan issued a statement to the media that the grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who placed him in a chokehold, Daniel Panteleo.
“Today’s outcome is one that many in our city did not want,” the mayor said in a statement released on Wednesday. He said that Garner’s death has put a spotlight on police-community relations and civil rights, noting that “this is a subject that is never far from my family’s minds.”
Listen to Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference in Staten Island:
De Blasio added that he will work to improve police-community relations, including plans to retrain the police department on use of force, and implementing a pilot program to place body cameras on police officers.
An NYPD internal investigation is still pending.
De Blasio said he trusts that New Yorkers who disagree with the decision will protest peacefully. He ended his statement by invoking the words of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ The problem of police-community relations and civil rights is not just an issue for people of color–or young people–or people who get stopped by police. This is a fundamental issue for every American who cares about justice.”