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Staten Island judge won't release Eric Garner grand jury minutes

Hemorrhaging on Eric Garner's neck indicative of neck

Hemorrhaging on Eric Garner's neck indicative of neck compressions from a police officer's chokehold caused his death, Dr. Michael Baden said at a news conference outside the medical examiner's Manhattan headquarters. Photo Credit: National Action Network

A Staten Island judge ruled on Thursday he wouldn't release any information from the grand jury that deliberated on Eric Garner's death.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, one of the organizations that led the charge to get the minutes released, will appeal the decision, a spokeswoman said.

"We are disappointed that the court has chosen to perpetuate secrecy rather than promote transparency," NYCLU legal director Arthur Eisenberg said in a statement. "In doing so, the court has reinforced the distrust many New Yorkers already feel toward the performance of the criminal justice system in this case."

In February, several attorneys, including a lawyer for the city's public advocate, pressed to unseal the grand jury records in the case, arguing the minutes could help to reform the criminal justice system.

In December, the grand jury voted not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo after nine weeks of deliberations. Later that month, a judge released limited information about the Garner grand jury, including that there were 50 witnesses and 60 exhibits presented.

"We respect and will adhere to Judge [William] Garnett's well-reasoned decision," Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan said in a statement.

Garner, 43, died July 17 after Pantaleo held him in an apparent chokehold while police tried to arrest him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.


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