A Staten Island grand jury today declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in connection with the chokehold death of an unarmed man earlier this year.
Eric Garner, a black, 43-year-old Staten Island man who was stopped on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes, died as a result of the July 17 encounter.
“My thoughts are this ought to have been an indictment and there ought to have been some sort of indictment for manslaughter … because of the excessive use of deadly force on a person who posed no serious or material threat to the police,” Judge Andrew Napolitano said on “Shepard Smith Reporting” this afternoon.
Judge Nap noted he has not seen all the evidence that the grand jury saw, so that could change his opinion, but on the basis of what he saw in the video of the incident, he said he believes it is a case of an individual doing nothing more than selling untaxed cigarettes, and as a result of government interaction, he’s dead.
“This is not a fair application of the law,” Judge Nap said.
He explained that the grand jury will not have the final word, and federal prosecutors will have to decide if the government wants to seek an indictment of Officer Pantaleo for a violation of civil rights that resulted in death.