A grand jury in Staten Island has voted against indicting a New York City police officer in the July death of Eric Garner. The decision to not bring criminal charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen on video putting Garner in a chokehold prior to his death, is expected to spark protests in New York, according to the New York Times. The New York police department has been preparing for demonstrations for days, especially following last week’s Ferguson grand jury decision, which similarly declined to seek charges against a white police officer in the killing of a black man.
Protesters are expected to turn out for a “die-in” called for by Garner’s daughter, Emerald Garner, at Grand Central Terminal at 6 p.m. “We will be meeting for a die-in (wear red shirts) in memory of my father, Eric Garner, and anyone else who lost a loved one to police brutality,” Garner said, according to the Facebook page of social action group Network for Human Rights.
Additional rallies are expected at 5:00 p.m. in Times Square, 5:30 p.m. in Foley Square and 7:00 p.m. in Union Square. Some activists are also planning to march to Rockefeller Center, where the annual Christmas tree lighting is set to take place between 7:00-9:00 p.m. Wednesday night. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio had been expected to attend the tree lighting, but an updated public schedule issued by his office Wednesday afternoon announced that the mayor had canceled his appearance at Rockefeller Center to meet with officials, clergy members and activists on Staten Island instead.
The Garner family is also expected to be present at a media address by the Rev. Al Sharpton at the headquarters of the National Action Network civil rights organization in Harlem at 7:30 p.m.
NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has said that there may be up to three other investigations into Garner's death, which could lead to federal charges or a civil case, reported ABC.