Tags: Ferguson in Crisis | Fox News | Bill de Blasio | Eric Garner | national | grief

Mayor de Blasio on Garner Case: 'National Moment of Grief'

By    |   Wednesday, 03 December 2014 06:59 PM

Addressing a grand jury's refusal to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called it a "national moment of grief" and said more must be done to bridge the divide between minorities and police.

Garner, 43, died after being placed in a chokehold by officer Daniel Pantaleo during an August arrest on a Staten Island street where Garner was selling untaxed cigarettes. Garner was black and the officer is white.

The announcement of a "no bill," meaning no indictment, comes just nine days after a grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri, declined to indict white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of young black man Michael Brown, 18.

Protests in Ferguson and across the country have sometimes turned violent, and de Blasio urged protesters in his city to be peaceful.

"It's a very emotional day for our city. It's a very painful day for so many New Yorkers," the mayor told a press conference Wednesday. "We're grieving again over the loss of Eric Garner, who was a father, a husband, a son, a good man, a man who should be with us and isn't."

De Blasio said he spent time earlier with Garner's father, Ben Garner, who told him his son would not have wanted violence.

Even as the mayor's press conference was being shown on television, protesters on the street could be seen shouting, "No justice, no peace!"

Though some commentators, including Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren, a former civil-rights defense lawyer, said the case should not be viewed through a racial lens, de Blasio said the cases of Garner, Brown, and others should be taken together to help improve policing and change the perceptions between minority communities and law enforcement.

De Blasio's own son is part black, a fact that he said makes the recent cases personal. He said he walks a line, telling his son that the police are there to protect him "but there's a history we have to overcome."

"This is now a national moment of grief, a national moment of pain and searching for a solution," de Blasio said.

He said the phrase "black lives matter," seen on protest signs, shouldn't have to be said, but must because of a U.S. history of injustice.

De Blasio said he has spoken both to outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder and his likely replacement, Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for eastern New York. Both have assured him the federal government will conduct its own civil-rights probe into the Garner case.

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Addressing a grand jury's refusal to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called it a "national moment of grief" and said more must be done to bridge the divide between minorities and police.
Bill de Blasio, Eric Garner, national, grief
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2014-59-03
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 06:59 PM
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