Commuters React to NYC Grand Jury Chokehold Decision

first_imgBy John BurtonRED BANK – If the New York City grand jury deciding the Eric Garner chokehold death case were made up of a group of commuters at the Red Bank train station the outcome would have clearly been different.A random sampling of a diverse group of those arriving and departing on NJ Transit trains Wednesday evening, following the grand jury decision to not indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the July 17 death of Garner had many of them expressing disappointment, in some cases anger and resignation and even some offering support for the decision.“Racism is alive and well in America,” offered one Asbury Park woman, who declined to give her name, as she waited for the train home.“It was unfair,” that decision to not indict, said Felicia Johnson, Brick. “The video itself showed it was unnecessary. There was no reason to do that,” she continued, referring to the officer’s action to place Garner under arrest resulting in a struggle.“It’s wrong they keep getting away with that,” Johnson continued, meaning police and referencing the shooting of unarmed Ferguson, Missouri, youth Michael Brown by a local police officer and that grand jury’s decision to not indict.Daniel Farley, who works in New York and lives in Metuchen, said he initially wasn’t aware of the grand jury’s decision until he checked his smart phone on the train. “Ferguson was a different ball of wax,” believing there was some question there. “There should have been an indictment here,” he said.Walking to catch the train Farley said there didn’t appear to be any disruption in Manhattan—at least none he was aware of. “I didn’t see anything. I just kept my head down and kept going,” he said. “Like always.”And he didn’t think there would be, at least not to the level that occurred in Ferguson, he added.“I’m sure there won’t be violence,” thought Ethan Ledley.But as Ledley spoke, CNN was reporting that demonstrations were beginning to get underway around New York with participants holding signs with “I Can’t Breathe” written on them.Ledley lives in Brooklyn, New York, and was in Tinton Falls Wednesday on business. “I’d think it’s unfortunate,” but not an entirely unexpected decision, he said. Given this incident and outcome, “There definitely needs to be some changes made with the NYPD” in education and training, Ledley said.In light of the jury’s decision, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Wednesday called for calm.“You can call for it, it don’t mean you’re going to get it,” responded Danny Corrick, who was waiting to get home to Newark.“There’s no difference between this and Ferguson,” Corrick said. “In both cases somebody died—unnecessarily.”Carlo Rivera, a Red Bank resident returning from Jersey City, saw it differently. “The police have to protect themselves,” he said, adding the grand jury “should give him a break,” referring to Pantaleo. Rivera, however, said “They”—meaning police—“need to learn how to deal with the disabled.”Garner was accused of selling illegal loose cigarettes on a Staten Island street this summer when he was approached by police who attempted to place him under arrest and a scuffle erupted. Police used a chokehold with Garner, who was unarmed and suffered from asthma and diabetes, complaining, “I can’t breath,” and resulting in his death. The incident was captured on video by an onlooker and has been widely broadcast.last_img

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