Judicial Inquiry Into Eric Garner’s Death Begins in New York

In Summary

Seven years after his death, a judicial inquiry into Eric Garner's death is now underway. 

NYPD’s involvement in the death of Eric Garner is now the center of attention at a judicial inquiry that began in New York Monday.  

According to ABC News, Judge Erika Edwards has called for 13 witnesses to testify to gain insight into what happened on the day Garner died in 2014. NYPD officers and sergeants are among those called to testify.  

RELATED: Seven Years After Eric Garner’s Death, Family Can Question NYC Officials  

The judicial inquiry will focus on Garner’s arrest, the use of force against him, the filing of documents about his arrest, alleged leaks of Garner’s arrest history and the information from the autopsy report. The alleged lack of medical care Garner received will also be discussed.  

The inquiry was expected to begin in July after Edwards made an announcement telling the Garner family to be ready for the week of July 19. It remains unclear why the inquiry did not begin until October. The proceedings come more than seven years after Garner’s death.  

In 2014, Garner was approached by NYPD officers Daniel Pantaleo and Justin D’Amico for illegally selling cigarettes. Pantaleo placed Garner in a chokehold and pinned him to the ground before Garner passed out and was pronounced dead at the hospital.  

RELATED: Spike Lee: ‘Little Has Changed’ With Police Brutality  

The medical examiner ruled Garner’s cause of death was homicide by suffocation. Despite this, a state grand jury did not indict Pantaleo on criminal charges. In August 2019, he was fired after he was found guilty in a police department disciplinary trial.  

Garner’s cry of “I can’t breathe” before his death has become a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement and police reform. Edwards says the case is about the truth. “It’s trailblazing if you ask me,” she said when asked about the inquiry. “Nobody will be charged or found liable. It’s about transparency. It’s about creating a record. It’s about letting the public better understand what happened and what did not happen seven years ago.”  

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.  

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