As street protests continued for a second night after a grand jury declined to indict Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, Staten Island D.A. Dan Donovan said Thursday the grand jury heard from 50 witnesses over a nine-week period, including police and medical personnel.
Attorney General Eric Holder promised a full investigation of Garner's death, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he'll push to change police practice and the grand jury system during the upcoming legislative session. In an interview on “The Capitol Pressroom.” Cuomo called the Garner case “corrosive to society.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced plans to retrain police officers in Queens. Bratton said on a morning radio show that jurors shouldn't be criticized for returning a decision not to indict Pantaleo based on evidence the rest of the world hasn't seen.
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch called Pantaleo a “mature” and “model” officer, and slammed De Blasio for saying children are afraid of police.
“That’s not true,” Lynch said. “All our sons and daughters walk the streets in safety because of police officers. They should be afraid of the criminals.”
New York's protests have been peaceful so far, and civic leaders say they doubt they'll see the violence that swept Ferguson, Mo., last week after a grand jury there declined to indict officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.
“It’s not the same place, so it’s understandable,” said Council member Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn. “I always prefer things to be constructive, I don’t encourage the destruction of property, but I don’t think it needs to be business as usual.”