Yesterday, a judge declined to release the testimony from the case of the NYPD officer who was not indicted for fatally choking Eric Garner in Staten Island last summer.
Garner, 43, died after Officer Daniel Pantaleo applied a chokehold while trying to restrain him last July. In December, a Staten Island grand jury elected not to indict Pantaleo. According to the Associated Press, groups such as the New York Civil Liberties Union had urged Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan to share the testimony heard by the grand jury with the public.
However, the Associated Press reports that State Supreme Court Justice William Garnett ultimately decided that an urgent, justifiable need for the testimony's release:
But State Supreme Court Justice William Garnett wrote that the law required the NYCLU and the other parties who brought the lawsuit to establish a "compelling and particularized need" to release the grand jury minutes.
What would they use the minutes for? The only answer which the court heard was the possibility of effecting legislative change, he wrote. "That proffered need is purely speculative and does not satisfy the requirements of the law.
The decision by the Staten Island grand jurors, he added, was theirs alone, after having heard all of the evidence, having been instructed on law and having deliberated. Their collective decision should not be impeached by the unbridled speculation that the integrity of this grand jury was impaired in any way.
What's more, the Associated Press notes that Donovan told them that his office would "adhere to Judge Garnett's well-reasoned decision." Still, the decision is being appealed by the NYCLU, NAACP, New York Post, Public Advocate's office, and Legal Aid Society.
[via Associated Press]