Protests erupt after decision in chokehold death
NEW YORK (AP):
Protests erupted in New York and other US cities after a white police officer was cleared in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man, a case that drew comparisons to the deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.
Eric Garner died as officers were attempting to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. The controversy has once again cast a spotlight on police tensions with African Americans, even as the nation's president and top law-enforcement official are both black.
Unlike the Missouri case, where the circumstances surrounding Michael Brown's death remain in dispute, Garner's July 17 arrest was captured on videotape. The Garner case could have even wider repercussions, particularly because it happened in the nation's most prominent city and one with a liberal tradition.
New York City police said yesterday that 83 people were arrested, most for disorderly conduct.
The decision by the Staten Island grand jury not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo heightened tensions that have simmered in the city since Garner's death.
In the neighbourhood where Garner died, people reacted with angry disbelief and chanted, "I can't breathe!" and "Hands up, don't choke!"
In Manhattan, demonstrators laid down in Grand Central Terminal, walked through traffic on the West Side Highway, and blocked the Brooklyn Bridge.
A City Council member cried. Hundreds converged on the heavily secured area around the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting with a combination of professional-looking signs and hand-scrawled placards reading, "Black lives matter" and "Fellow white people, wake up."
"This fight ain't over, it just began," said Garner's widow, Esaw.