The Obama administration is trying to secure a federal indictment of the NYPD cop who put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold, becoming a staple example and protest of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Federal prosecutors called police officers to testify in front of a Brooklyn grand jury on Wednesday, and more witnesses are expected today, sources told The New York Post. The aim is to indict Pantaleo before the Trump administration takes office, which would hold the power to throw the case out following Friday.
The grand jury will consider civil rights charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the white police officer whose use of force against Garner, a black man, proved fatal in 2014. Garner reportedly resisted arrest on charges of illegally selling cigarettes during the incident.
Video of the incident soon went viral, and Garner yelling “I can’t breathe!” at Pantaleo turned into a chant at protests around the country.
A New York state grand jury previously chose not to indict Pantaleo in 2014, believing that the video showed that Pantaleo didn’t intend to put Garner in a chokehold.
New York lawmakers reportedly sent a letter to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch last week, urging her to charge Pantaleo before Trump took office, saying that a Trump attorney general might be less sympathetic to civil rights issues.
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