Amid the fallout from Ferguson, a panel in New York City is quietly nearing its own conclusion about another combustible case involving the death of a black man at the hands of police.
The grand jury that began investigating the detention death of Eric Garner in September heard last week from its final witness — the NYPD officer seen on a widely watched video wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck. Before the end of the year, authorities are expected to announce whether the officer will face criminal charges.
Police are already taking steps to avoid a repeat of the violent protests in Ferguson. The NYPD sent detectives to Missouri to gather intelligence on “professional agitators” who frequent protests and to share strategies for quelling violence, said Police Commissioner William Bratton. Police also have kept in touch with community leaders on Staten Island to coordinate the response to the jury decision.
“We’re always and constantly networking and trying to make ourselves accessible and reaching out,” Bratton said.
Some demonstrators at a recent Brooklyn protest organized in response to Ferguson said they expected a similar outcome in New York.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if another cop got off,” said 15-year-old Gramal Ralph, who’s black. “I would hope that we could get justice here, but I don’t have faith in the system anymore.”
Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, claims that the video should give a grand jury ample reason to indict, but is urging protesters to demonstrate peacefully whatever the outcome.