Hunter versus the hunted mentality seen across America (FCN, 10-07-2014)
NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) – On Oct. 6 a special Grand Jury began to hear testimony in the ‘chokehold’ death of Eric Garner, 43, the same day, his family filed a Notice of Claim to sue the city and the NYPD and New York City Comptroller for $75 million. Mr. Garner died July 17 as police officers wrestled him to the ground, allegedly attempting to arrest the father of six for selling untaxed cigarettes, The notice also names police officers Daniel Pantaleo, Justin D’Amico, Craig Furlani, Christopher Maldonado, William Meems and Mark Ramos as defendants.
The Notice of Claim includes wrongful death, pain and suffering, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervision and negligent training, noting that Officer Pantaleo recklessly placed Mr. Garner in the banned chokehold maneuver.
“In order to sue a municipality, you must file Notice of Claim within 90 days of the date of the incident. It is unusual that they are filing a notice in this case, which is only necessary for state court,” Attorney Matthew Muhammad explained to The Final Call.
A statement released by Rev. Al Sharpton, chairman of the National Action Network, the family’s adviser stated, “We must protect the family’s rights. No one should read anything else into it.”
Meanwhile Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan convened the Special Grand Jury under a veil of secrecy. “D.A. Donovan has to do something,” said Attorney Muhammad, a member of the Nation of Islam.
He served in the office of the Manhattan District Attorney from 2004 to 2007. He explained the difference between a regular versus a special grand jury. “This grand jury will only hear evidence related to the Eric Garner case; but won’t be given instructions from Mr. Donovan,” Attorney Muhammad said.
“The grand jury won’t be told by the district attorney that he believes Mr. Garner’s death is a homicide. They will be left to figure this out for themselves,” he added. On August 2, the NYC Medical Examiner ruled Mr. Garner’s death a “homicide” as the result of compression of neck and chest and also prone positioning during physical restraint by police.
On Sept. 19, a private pathologist hired by the Garner family agreed with the city Medical Examiner’s findings he died from a neck compression though there was evidence of pre-existing medical issues such as asthma, diabetes and being overweight.
Under New York law a homicide is an unlawful killing, but in situations involving police officers very often there will be no appearance of an officer acting outside of his prescribed duty, Attorney Muhammad said.
“The Special Grand Jury is a political move by the district attorney. He isn’t really going after the police,” he added.
“I have to say that I don’t have much confidence in the Staten Island D.A. It’s been three months since Eric Garner died,” stated the family’s attorney, Jonathan Moore on Oct. 11 during a rally at NAN headquarters in Manhattan.
On October 7, the 13-member Community Civilian Review Board released a report concerning the use of the banned chokehold by officers of the NYPD entitled “A Mutated Rule: Lack of Enforcement in the Face of Persistent Chokehold Complaints in NYC”. The 140-page report concluded that NYPD officers were using the banned maneuver and for the most part are not being disciplined.
“In the last 12 months, from July 2013 to June 2014, the CCRB has received a greater number of chokehold complaints (219) than it has seen since the period from 2006 to 2010 at 200 per year,” the report stated. It was also stated that officers accused of using the chokehold had an average of seven misconduct complaints filed against them.
The CCRB is an independent agency, empowered to receive, investigate, mediate, hear, make findings and recommend action on complaints against NYPD officers.
“We encourage Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William J. Bratton to act accordingly to the recommendations of the CCRB. We cannot afford to allow politics to get in the way of the rights of the people,” Damon Jones, New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America told The Final Call.
We applaud the administration in City Hall for showing that an independent CCRB can be an effective mechanism for true transparency between law enforcement and the community they claim to serve, Mr. Jones added.
“We demand that police officers be disciplined for their use of the chokehold,” former Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron told The Final Call. Mr. Barron heads a grassroots organization People Organizing and Working for Empowerment and Respect. On July 28 the group videotaped a confrontation between Rosan Miller, 27, who at the time was seven-months pregnant, and a police officer who placed her in a chokehold for allegedly grilling on the sidewalk in front of her East New York home.
Mr. Barron said the incident is under investigation by the Brooklyn D.A.’s office. “The answer is not retraining or sensitivity training; the answer is punishment,” for officers that violate the rights of others insists Mr. Barron.
The only concrete recommendation by the CCRB is to create a working group consisting of the NYPD and the mayor’s office “to collaborate to reduce chokehold incidents.”
Review full CCRB report at, http://www.nyc.gov/html/ccrb/html/news/policy.shtml