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Panel to hear appeal for release of Eric Garner grand jury minutes

This undated family photo provided by the National

This undated family photo provided by the National Action Network on Saturday, July 19, 2014, shows Eric Garner, who was confronted by police trying to arrest him on suspicion of selling untaxed, loose cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk, authorities said. Photo Credit: National Action Network

A panel of three judges will hear arguments Tuesday appealing a Staten Island judge's decision not to release grand jury minutes from the Eric Garner case.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, one of the organizations that led the charge to get the minutes released, promised to appeal the judge's March decision not to release the minutes immediately after it was issued.

"We have reached a pivotal point in the call for justice -- New Yorkers continue to demand answers to tough questions regarding the integrity of the criminal justice system and whether secret grand jury proceedings are in fact instruments of injustice," NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman said in a statement Monday. "If there was ever a case where the public needs to know all the facts about what happened in the grand jury room, it's this one -- the court must heed the call for transparency and reassure all New Yorkers that black lives do matter."

Garner, 43, died July 17 after Officer Daniel Pantaleo held him in an apparent chokehold while police tried to arrest him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. In December, a grand jury voted not to indict Pantaleo after nine weeks of deliberations.

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