Civil liberties lawyers urged a state judge on Thursday to reveal secret grand jury testimony concerning the death of Eric Garner during a police arrest attempt, saying the public needs to reconcile a video of the arrest with the decision not to indict the officer involved.
“Transparency is better than secrecy. Light is better than darkness,” said Arthur Eisenberg, legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Eisenberg and other lawyers were questioned sharply by Judge William Garnett, who asked if they believed other clients were also treated unfairly by grand juries of just Garner, a 43-year-old black Staten Island man.
Disclosure is opposed by Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan, who argued that grand jury witnesses came forward and testified “with full assurances of secrecy.” Making their testimony public, the papers argue, would bring an “inevitable result of harassment or retaliation.”