No, the man that killed Eric Garner was not indicted, but the man who videotaped the killing, was. And we call this “justice.”
On Wednesday, a Staten Island grand jury decided not to return an indictment for the police officer who put Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, in a chokehold shortly before his death. A different Staten Island grand jury was less sympathetic to Ramsey Orta, however, the man who filmed the entire incident.
In August, less than a month after filming the fatal July 17 encounter in which Daniel Pantaleo and other NYPD police officers confronted Garner for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes, a grand jury indicted Orta on weapons charges stemming from an arrest by undercover officers earlier that month.
Police alleged that Orta had slipped a .25 caliber handgun into a teenage accomplice’s waistband outside a New York hotel. Orta testified that the charges were falsely mounted by police in retaliation for his role in documenting Garner’s death, but the grand jury rejected his contention, charging him with single felony counts of third-degree criminal weapon possession and criminal firearm possession.
In Garner’s case, on the other hand, jurors determined there was not probable cause that Pantaleo had committed any crime. A medical examiner ruled Garner’s death homicide in part resulting from the chokehold, a restraining move banned by the NYPD in 1993.