Police union officials and Pantaleo’s lawyer argued that the officer used a takedown move taught by the police department, not a banned maneuver, because Garner was resisting arrest. They said his poor health was the main reason he died.
After news hit, protesters gathered in Times Square and around the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting.
Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, commented on the grand jury decision:
I couldn’t see how a grand jury could vote and say there was no probable cause. What were they looking at? Were they looking at the same video the rest of the world was looking at?
Garner’s family have also asked for peace as protests erupt.
In his first public comments, Pantaleo said he prays for Garner’s family and hopes they accept his condolences. Via statement he said:
I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves. It is never my intention to harm anyone, and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner.
The medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide and found that a chokehold contributed to it. A forensic pathologist hired by Garner’s family agreed with those findings, saying there was hemorrhaging on Garner’s neck indicative of neck compressions.
Pantaleo was stripped of his gun and badge and will remain on desk duty pending an internal police investigation that could result in administrative charges.
Celebrities took to social media, sharing their displeasure of the grand jury’s decision.
By @iamdiddy "#WATCH …….I can't take it anymore! It's Enough, and enough is enough! Honestly my emotions are all over the place. We as artists, myself included, all have to step up and be better leaders in our communities. It's a hard burden to bear, but we have been chosen whether we like it or not. We need to do whatever we can in a POSITIVE way, to help unite people of all colors in this injustice! In order to be successful, it is very important that we have a well ORGANIZED, STRATEGIC plan. This is super important in order for us to make change!! REAL organization, REAL strategy and a TRUE commitment to not forget and move on like we usually do when the news stops reporting. This has to stop and we as a people are the only ones that can stop it. I truly do not have the right to preach, but I do have the right to speak. #EricGarner #MikeBrown #UNITE"