NEW YORK (Sputnik) — The testimony from the Grand Jury that decided not to indict the New York Police Department (NYPD) police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner will remain secret, according to a written decision released by New York State Supreme Court Judge William Garnett.
“If every newsworthy case were deemed compelling and, thus justified disclosure, the veil of grand jury secrecy would be lifted,” Garnett wrote on Thursday.
He added that there is no "compelling or particularized need” to disclose the testimony.
New York Public Advocate Letitia James, The Legal Aid Society, The New York Civil Liberties Union in addition to others groups filed a request to the court in December 2014 to disclose the Grand Jury testimony.
The request petitioned the court to release private records of the Grand Jury’s transcript, along with instructions presented to the jury as well as the evidence presented. It was submitted just days after the grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who had used a chokehold to subdue Garner, a violation of NYPD policy.
Eric Garner died July 17 following the confrontation, which began over the illegal sale of cigarettes. It was ruled that Garner died partly because of Pantaleo’s chokehold which left him gasping for air on the ground as officers stood and watched, refusing to give him medical attention.
“Eric Garner was a son, father, husband and grandfather,” Tina Luongo, an attorney at The Legal Aid Society, said in a statement following Thursday’s ruling. “His family, and the Staten Island community, deserve to know why, despite a clear video of Officer Pantaleo putting Mr. Garner in a chokehold and a medical examiner’s report ruling his death a homicide by chokehold, there was no indictment on any charges.”
Luongo said the decision will be appealed in the Appellate Court.