NYPD head meets with Staten Island leaders ahead of grand jury decision in Eric Garner case

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Commissioner Bratton met with Staten Island community leaders Monday. (Photo: NYPD)

Commissioner Bratton met with Staten Island community leaders Monday. (Photo: NYPD)

STATEN ISLAND (PIX11) — With a grand jury expected to come to a decision in the in-custody death of Eric Garner this week, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton met with Staten Island leaders Monday to discuss community concerns and new NYPD initiatives.

The grand jury is to decide whether Officer Daniel Pantaleo will face criminal charges in Garner’s July 17 death outside a Staten Island convenience store. Garner died after being placed in an apparent chokehold during an arrest attempt. Police suspected Garner of selling illegal cigarettes.

Widely circulated cellphone video showed  Pantaleo putting Garner in an apparent chokehold -- outlawed in the department for some 20 years -- while trying to subdue him. Garner could be heard saying "I can't breath" before losing consciousness.

The city Medical Examiner ruled the chokehold contributed to Garner's death, which sparked widespread protests and has been compared to the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri.

Last week, a grand jury decided Wilson would not be indicted in Brown's death. The decision led to protests, some of them violent, worldwide.

The NYPD says the importance of police and community collaboration was discussed at Mondays meeting. Among those leaders who met with Bratton were Councilwoman Debi Rose, clergy leaders and Borough President James Oddo.