NYT: Appeals Court Rules for Transcripts in Eric Garner Case to Remain Sealed…

The New York Times continues coverage on Eric Garner, the African American man who was choked to death by a New York City Police Office: “The decision by the Court of Appeals, in a six-word ruling published on its website, ended a yearlong legal effort to pry open records from the private proceeding. The grand jury declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo or other New York police officers involved in wrestling Mr. Garner to the ground during an arrest in July 2014 on Staten Island. Mr. Garner, who was suspected of selling loose cigarettes on a sidewalk near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, was declared dead about an hour later at a hospital.

The court’s ruling leaves in place another decision by an intermediate appellate court. In July, a four-judge panel of the Appellate Division in Brooklyn ruled unanimously against releasing the information, which was being sought by the city’s public advocate, the Legal Aid Society, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the N.A.A.C.P. The appellate judges cited the “dangers inherent in violating the secrecy of the grand jury process.”

The grand jury’s decision last December spurred protests across New York and beyond, and amplified national calls for changes in police practices and to the grand jury system. Grand juries, which by law operate in secret, have rarely brought charges against police officers for fatal on-duty actions.

But the system’s secrecy has left the public unclear on how jurors reach their decisions, which are often disputed. Officer Pantaleo’s chokehold on Mr. Garner and the pressure other officers placed on his chest to pin him on the pavement caused his death, the city medical examiner ruled last year. Chokeholds are banned by the Police Department.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman recused himself from the decision on Monday. While declining to discuss the specific reasons, a spokesman for the court, Gary Spencer, said Judge Lippman routinely recuses himself from cases involving the administrative operations of the trial court system that he oversees.”

Read the rest of the story at the New York Times….

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