NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Testimony heard by a grand jury that declined to indict a police officer in the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner will not be released, a judge ruled Thursday,
State Supreme Court Justice William Garnett ruled that there was not a good enough reason to make the secret information public.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, Garner died on July 17 of last year in a controversial confrontation with police on Staten Island. In December, a grand jury cleared the NYPD officer involved — Daniel Pantaleo — of any wrongdoing, and protests erupted on city streets.
The New York Civil Liberties Union and others had asked the court to order Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan to release the grand jury transcript, including the testimony from Pantaleo, and dozens of witnesses, along with detailed descriptions of evidence and other documentation. A similar step was voluntarily taken by the prosecutor in Ferguson, Missouri, when a grand jury there refused to indict an officer in the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Both Garner and Brown were black; the officers involved are white. The deaths sparked nationwide protests about the treatment of communities of color by law enforcement and a debate about the role of race in policing.