Crowds Chant "I Can't Breathe" in Protest of Grand Jury Decision in Eric Garner Case as Police Amp Up Patrols | NBC New York
The Death of Eric Garner

The Death of Eric Garner

Staten Island grand jury clears NYPD officer in chokehold case

Crowds Chant "I Can't Breathe" in Protest of Grand Jury Decision in Eric Garner Case as Police Amp Up Patrols

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    NEWSLETTERS

    UPDATE: 2nd Day of Protests in Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision

    Hours after a grand jury cleared an NYPD officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, crowds gathered at the site on Staten Island where the 43-year-old father died as others began a silent "lie-down" protest at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan and still others marched toward Times Square shouting, "I can't breathe!"

    Some headed toward Rockefeller Center in an apparent effort to disrupt the tree lighting ceremony, but were unable to get past police. Later, demonstrators marched on the West Side Highway near the 40s and 50s, gridlocking it for blocks at a time. There were also backups at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, the Lincoln Tunnel and the Brooklyn Bridge.

    Crowds gathered at Times Square, Union Square and Foley Square following the grand jury's decision Wednesday not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen on amateur video wrapping his hand around Garner's neck July 17 as the heavyset, asthmatic man gasped for air.

    Protesters Flood Streets, Grand Central Station Following Garner Grand Jury Decision

    [NY] Protesters Flood Streets, Grand Central Station Following Garner Grand Jury Decision
    Protesters chanted "I can't breathe," as they rallied across New York City. Brynn Gingras reports (Published Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014)

    Around 30 people were arrested by late Wednesday night, police said. There have been no reports of injuries. 

    NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said earlier in the week that the NYPD was anticipating protests and that the department had been preparing for them for months.

    Extra patrols were deployed at Rockefeller Plaza, and to the site of the chokehold in Tompkinsville, Staten Island, where several protesters rallied outside a store chanting, "No justice, no peace." A police spokesman said mobile units were in place to respond to protests developing across the city.

    City officials and business owners pleaded for calm, "constructive" demonstrations.

    Marchers Chant "I Can't Breathe" in Protest of Garner Grand Jury Decision

    [NY] Marchers Chant "I Can't Breathe" in Protest of Garner Grand Jury Decision
    Crowds protesting the grand jury's decision not to indict an NYPD officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner marched in Manhattan chanting, "I can't breathe," the words Garner was captured on video saying before he died. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014)

    "We all agree that demonstrations and free speech are valuable contributions to debate, and that violence and disorder are not only wrong -- but hurt the critically important goals we are trying to achieve together," Mayor de Blasio said shortly after the grand jury decision was announced.

    Protesters like Doug Brinson said they were shocked by the lack of indictment.

    Lie-Down Protest at Grand Central After Garner Decision

    [NY] Lie-Down Protest at Grand Central After Garner Grand Jury Decision
    People protesting a grand jury's decision not to indict in Eric Garner's death stage a lie-down protest at Grand Central Terminal Wednesday. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014)

    “Not to indict the man is like a double slap in your face,” Brinson said. “It’s like stomping you down on the ground.”

    Operators of some local businesses said they were more worried about outsiders causing trouble than Staten Island residents.

    Protesters March on West Side Highway

    [NY] Protesters March on West Side Highway
    People protesting the grand jury decision not to indict in the death of Eric Garner march on the West Side Highway Wednesday night. (Published Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014)

    “If you worry about people coming from outside Staten Island, like agitators, that could be bad,” said Ed Varoulo of Hypno-Tronic comics on Stuyvesant Place. “I think it’s good as long as we don’t have to pull the gates down and close early.”

    "I'm doing this for my ancestors and for all of the blood that has shed in America," said Talibah Newman, who joined the lie-down protest at Grand Central. "As a black woman in America, I feel numb."

    Garner Neighbors Outraged by Lack of Indictment

    [NY] Garner Neighbors Outraged by Lack of Indictment
    A crowd gathered at the Staten Island location where Eric Garner was put in a fatal chokehold after a grand jury voted Wednesday not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. Protests were peaceful but people were outraged: "Here I have an audio and a video, and still no justice? There's a major problem here." (Published Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014)

    Eric Garner's mother Gwen Carr asked supporters Wednesday to "make a statement, but make it in peace." 

    The protests were reminiscent of the ones that shut down major highways and bridges last week after a grand jury in Ferguson decided not to indict the police officer who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. 

    Protests against the Staten Island grand jurors' decision were planned in other cities across the country, including in Washington, D.C., and Ferguson, Missouri.

    The Rev. Al Sharpton announced Wednesday he and the Garners, along with the families of Michael Brown and Akai Gurley, will lead a national march in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 13. 

    Shock in Staten Island over Garner Grand Jury Decision

    [NY] Shock in Staten Island over Garner Grand Jury Decision
    Hours after a Grand Jury ruled it would not indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, residents on Staten Island offered their reactions. Andrew Siff has more. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014)

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