The limited information released from the New York grand jury that opted not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner is not enough, says New York Rep. Charles Rangel.
"If I asked you, I want to read your book and you give me the table of contents; I haven't found out a thing about your book. And so releasing this is releasing absolutely nothing," Rangel said Thursday on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."
Rangel was referring to the fact that a judge allowed release only of the number of witnesses, 50, including a breakdown that 22 were civilians and 28 were police officers, emergency medical personnel or doctors. There also were 60 exhibits, including four videos.
That stood in stark contrast to a St. Louis County grand jury just last week. The prosecutor in the case of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson released a voluminous report detailing every piece of testimony and evidence.
Both cases involved white police officers being investigated in the deaths of unarmed black men. Wilson said he shot 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. because he was being charged and Brown already had tried to take his gun. In the New York case, Officer Daniel Pantaleo can be seen in a video wrestling 43-year-old Garner to the ground in what most have described as a chokehold. Garner complained 11 times he couldn't breathe while being subdued by Pantaleo and other officers. He died later and a coroner's report blamed constriction on his neck as a contributing factor.
Rangel told Tapper that a federal civil rights probe will find out why the grand jury looked at the evidence and decided no crime was committed.
Rangel said the prosecutor's office made a "stupid mistake" giving immunity to the other police officers involved.
"Police officers shouldn't need immunity to tell the truth," he said. "If you insist on immunity, it means you think you could be indicted for a crime."
But Rangel said he doesn't believe the decision will stand anyway.
"The whole world is watching. They have made a terrible mistake by not explaining how they reached this conclusion," he told Tapper.
Both the Ferguson and New York cases have brought up protests focusing on race.
Rangel said it will be difficult for the United States to point out the human rights abuses of other countries until it has dealt with the cancer in its own body.
"We used to be cotton-pickers, you know," said Rangel, who is black. "We used to be considered subhuman over several hundred years. … We're human beings, we're citizens, we have voting rights, and we have human rights, civil rights. But, boy, do we have a long way to go."
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson also appeared with Tapper, urging people upset with the grand juries to engage the political process rather than violence that has been associated with some protests.
"Change does occur over time," Johnson said.
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