By Gerald V. Paul
“I can’t breathe”, “Black Lives Matter” to “I could be next” are among the signs being held by Black American protestors during ongoing demonstrations in response to another decision by a New York grand jury not to charge policeman Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner during his Staten Island arrest, which was captured on cell phone video.
“If you care about justice, you will feel sickened by the grand jury’s decision not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the choking death of Eric Garner,” Mel Robbins of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) penned on social media.
The protests across the U.S. come a week after another decision not to indict by a grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri, examining the killing of African-American teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer.
Earlier peaceful protests happened in several cities across Canada, including Toronto and Ottawa.
In numerous cities across the United States protesters passed out a list of demands to the media regarding the Garner death.
The top demands were for all officers involved to be fired; for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate all complaints of excessive force and for the New York state Legislature to make a chokehold punishable by significant penalties.
Garner’s daughter Erica told CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper that she wanted to see people punished for her father’s killing.
Those who turned out to protest were a mix of ages and races.
Meanwhile, New York officials said that complaints against police officers had fallen significantly in the second half of the year, compared with July to November 2013.
“We welcome the revisions and updating of the 2003 guidance on the use of race by federal law enforcement issued by Attorney General Holder. This guidance is a major and important step forward to ensure effective policing by federal law enforcement officials, but it is one piece of many necessary long-term systemic criminal justice reforms, NAACP said.
“Now we call on the Obama Administration to urge adoption of this guidance and the state and local law enforcement levels in all cases and not only cases,” Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP said.