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Jamaica-born US legislator calls for special prosecutor to probe New York homicide case

Published:Saturday | August 30, 2014 | 3:43 PM


A Jamaica-born legislator has called on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the investigation and prosecution of the homicide case of a Eric Garner, a black man killed by police by chokehold.

Brooklyn Assemblyman N Nick Perry, along with several colleagues from the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, has dispatched a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo on the matter.

Perry, who is Deputy Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly, referenced what he described as 'striking similarities' with the handling of the investigation of the Garner homicide and the infamous Howard Beach murder of Michael Griffith, a Guyanese native.

In the tragic Howard Beach case, “the Queens County District Attorney had displayed obvious reluctance to act decisively and allowed the investigation to drag on, while disregarding the public’s cry for decisive and timely action,” said Perry, who represents the 58th Assembly District in the East Flatbush, Brownsville and Canarsie neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

“This is exactly what has been happening with the Eric Garner homicide investigation, and this has created environment that is only conducive to an explosion of public distrust,” Perry added.

He said public mistrust and skepticism in the Queens District Attorney prompted the then Governor, Mario Cuomo, to act after only 25 days and appoint a special prosecutor in the Howard Beach case.

“The family of Eric Garner, and all New Yorkers concerned with transparency, and that justice will come from this investigation, have already waited too long,” he added.

On July 17,Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, was confronted by police for allegedly selling loose cigarettes near his home.

In an encounter captured on cellphone video, a white NYPD officer was seen placing Garner, who is black, in a chokehold and forcing him to the ground.

Garner, who was asthmatic, died a short time later and the city medical examiner officer's later ruled his death a homicide.

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