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Eric Garner's mom hopes for peace after grand jury decision

Gwen Carr, the mother of police chokehold victim

Gwen Carr, the mother of police chokehold victim Eric Garner, speaks during a church service at Mt. Sinai United Christian Church before the start of the Rev. Al Sharpton's "We Won't Go Back" march on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kena Betancur

The mother of the Staten Island cigarette peddler who died after a police officer put him in an apparent chokehold said Saturday she hopes that New Yorkers shun the kind of street violence that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, if a grand jury doesn't return an indictment in the case.

Gwen Carr, whose son, Eric Garner, died in July, recalled watching television news in horror on Monday night after a prosecutor announced that no criminal charges would be filed against the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teen.

Orderly protests were eclipsed by looting, arson and gunfire.

"We don't want violence," Carr said. "We don't want them burning up the place. We live here."

Special grand jurors on Staten Island have been working in secret for months, hearing testimony and evidence against Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is seen on a video taken by a bystander wrapping his arm around Garner's neck as he gasps, "I can't breathe."

The NYPD bans use of the chokehold.

A decision is expected in December.

Preaching Saturday from his storefront headquarters in Harlem, the Rev. Al Sharpton likened the Staten Island grand jury proceedings to those in Missouri, where panelists ruled there was not enough cause to charge Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, 18. "It don't take no four months to look at no video," said Sharpton.

Carr said she's optimistic that the video will mean a different result in Pantaleo's case.

Carr appeared on Sharpton's stage with the families of other New Yorkers who died at the hands of the NYPD, including Akai Gurley, the innocent man shot dead earlier this month in a pitch-black stairwell in what the department deemed an accident.

Sharpton called these cases "Ferguson-ism."

Separately on Saturday, Sharpton taunted his longtime nemesis, Rudy Giuliani, over the former mayor's comments in TV interviews that white cops are needed to stop black people from killing one another.

Sharpton said, "In any community, the overwhelming majority of people are killed by the people that live in that community." He added, to laughter, cheers and applause: "I'll tell Rudy a secret: In a family feud, it's usually members of the family that's in the feud. Duh! Figure I'd help him out."


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