A federal grand jury has begun to hear evidence pertaining to the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died after being placed in an illegal chokehold by an New York City Police Officer.
The jury will determine whether Office Daniel Pantaleo violated Mr. Garner’s civil rights when he attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes.
In December a New York grand jury declined to bring charges against Pantaleo. This invoked protesters to take to the streets of Washington, and shotly thereafter the Justice Department announced it would launch a civil rights investigation into the case.
Last summer, New York City reached a $5.9 million settlement with Garner’s family. During a press conference, the family said they wanted Pantaleo to face federal charges.
“They deserve to be prosecuted. They treated my husband like an animal,” said Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner.
It’s important to note that empaneling a grand jury does not guarantee that charges will follow.