Foes Of Choke-Hold Rally Two Years After Garner's "Execution" By Pantaleo

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Gwen Carr, Garner's mother. To her left is councilmember Williams and behind her is councilmember Lanceman

The National Action Network (NAN), Minister Kirsten John Foy and Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, joined New York City Council Members and Justice League NYC to rally for justice the day before the two-year anniversary of the grand jury case that ended with no indictment for the officer who killed Eric Garner by placing him in a chokehold — a move that is banned by the NYPD but still used.

Council Members Rory Lancman, Jumaane D. Williams and Robert Cornegy introduced legislation after Mr. Garner’s death criminalizing the use of chokeholds by police.

The bill has 28 total sponsors, though Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to veto the bill — making it even more crucial to gain momentum for this lifesaving legislation.

“We have seen in the past the use of the chokehold not just as a defensive measure but as an offensive and aggressive measure,”said Minister Kirsten John Foy with the National Action Network (NAN). “That is unacceptable in 2016, two years after the killing of Eric Garner. The City of New York needs to be leading the nation as it relates to the use of force practices by police departments, but instead, we seem to be falling behind in the national curve as it relates to the accountability in policing.”

"We need the chokehold ban to be legislation, not policy. It can’t help my son now but it may help your son,” said Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, calling for the chokehold legislation to be passed into law. “It’s been two years tomorrow that there was no indictment, no justice, no accountability. So now we need to change. We’re here today to speak about the chokehold bill. And we don’t need policy, we have policy. We need to pass legislation.”

“Eric Garner’s family deserves justice — and instead of receiving it, our city has added loopholes to make it easier for officers to justify using chokeholds,” added Council Member Rory Lancman, Chairman of the Courts & Legal Services Committee. “The number of chokehold complaints received and substantiated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) is troubling proof that officers are using this banned move and facing little to no repercussions. It’s clear NYPD internal policy is not enough, and the New York City Council’s legislation banning chokeholds must be passed into law immediately.”

“This weekend, we are reminded that justice is not equally doled out for all,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. “It’s been two years since Daniel Pantaleo murdered Eric Garner and no one has yet to be held accountable in any way. This man, who murdered Eric, was not only not prosecuted or punished for his crime; he was rewarded with increased pay. Where is the justice in that, especially when we are dealing with an Administration that refuses to release the disciplinarian records of problem officers, while opposing bills that would make policing better, including the widely-supported Right to Know Act.”

“Eric Garner was executed a few blocks from his home by the use of a police procedure that has been banned since 1993,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr. “I don’t want to re-litigate this case, however, as a legislator I have the power and the obligation to ensure that this never happens again. The citizens of the City of New York deserve to be protected from rogue officers that have decided to operate outside of police policy and face no punishment for doing so. This is why I have co-sponsored Intro 540, because I want my sons, your sons, and the sons of anyone that lives in this city or arrives by bridge, tunnel or airplane to know that interactions with the NYPD are safe.”

"In honor and in memory of Eric Garner, I stand with Council Member Lancman in calling for an end to the NYPD's chokehold policy,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “Medical and criminal justice experts agree that chokeholds are dangerous and too often put the life of those under arrest at risk. The NYPD has safer methods of detaining suspects at its disposal, and must employ those methods. I am proud to work alongside Council Member Lancman on this effort which will ultimately save many lives.”

“The disappointing decision to not indict the New York City police officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner showed that it is not possible for public prosecutors to objectively manage grand jury indictments in homicides committed by police,” said Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley. “We must restore faith in our judicial system by appointing an independent special prosecutor for all grand juries considering such cases. The death of Eric Garner was unnecessary and tragic, my prayers continue to be with his family.”

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