|(Reuters) - A New York City grand jury has decided not to charge a police officer who killed an unarmed black man with a chokehold while trying to arrest him for illegally selling cigarettes, the local district attorney said on Wednesday.|
The deadly encounter in July on Staten Island, New York City's smallest borough, was captured on video, which quickly spread over the Internet and fueled debate about how U.S. police use force, particularly against minorities. Staten Island resident Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died on July 17 after police officers tackled him and put him in a chokehold. The city's medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.
|Garner family attorney Jonathon Moore says he's "astonished by the decision." Shortly after the grand jury decision became public, a law enforcement source confirmed to NPR's Carrie Johnson that the U.S. Justice Department has opened a federal probe into Garner's death.|
"It's a very painful day for so many New Yorkers," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
Die-in at Grand Central as NYC protests begin after Eric Garner grand jury decision
Mr. De Blasio's wife is black. He is white. They are symbols of the diversity that De Blasio says is the strength of the city.
|Citing "centuries of racism that have brought us to this day," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says that the fact that protesters have rallied around the statement "Black lives matter" reflects a sad situation, in which such an idea needs to be both stated and repeated.|
"It's a phrase that should never have to be said," the mayor said. "It should be self-evident."