Judicial inquiry begins into Eric Garner’s death

Local News

NEW YORK — A judicial inquiry began Monday into the death of Eric Garner.

More than a dozen NYPD officers are expected to testify about their involvement in Garner’s killing.

Garner’s dying cry of “I can’t breathe” as he was restrained by New York City police officers became a slogan of the Black Lives Matter movement. Advocates including Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, sought the inquiry in hopes that it would shed light on the circumstances surrounding Garner’s July 17, 2014, death.

The proceedings started on Monday and will not have a final decision — and no one will be found guilty or held accountable. The hearing is about transparency and is expected to go on for two or three weeks. 

Carr and other police accountability advocates allege that the city withheld information during a cover up in the case. 

During the hearing, Lt. Christopher Bannon testified about a text message he sent to another officer.

Bannon was told Garner may have died on the scene. Bannon replied: “Its not a big deal. We were effecting a lawful arrest.”

Carr said “That was a real slap in the face.”

Prosecutors at both the state and federal levels declined to charge any of the officers who were at the scene when Garner lost consciousness.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired five years later. Authorities said Pantaleo used a banned chokehold to restrain Garner.

Mayor Bill de Blasio or NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea will not testify, but during his daily briefing de Blasio referred to the day Garner was killed as a horrible day in the history of the city.

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