In the wake of the refusal to indict Officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo for the murders of 18-year-old Michael Brown and 43-year-old Eric Garner, respectively, Kings County, Brooklyn district attorney Kenneth Thompson began to impanel a grand jury to decide the fate of Officer Peter Liang, the man who shot and killed 28-year-old Akai Gurley.
Thompson, who is African American, and whose single mother was an NYPD officer, made his intentions for the process of the trial clear yesterday, according to Newsday:
I pledge to conduct a full and fair investigation and to give the grand jury all of the information necessary to do its job.
Even though there’s no timetable on the impanelment for this particular grand jury, Thompson could ask for a panel dedicated exclusively to Gurley’s case, similar to Garner’s case.
Kevin Powell, a representative of the grassroots organization BK Nation,has stepped up and demanded that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton bring things to an end:
We do not believe this was an accident, but a pattern of reckless disregard for the lives of young men of color in our community.
Garner, who suffered from asthma, was killed in Staten Island, New York this past July when Officer Pantaleo put him in a chokehold while attempting to arrest him. The chokehold has been banned by the NYPD since 1993. Garner’s death was captured on video and declared a homicide, yet Pantaleo wasn’t indicted.
Brown was shot by Officer Wilson six times in Ferguson, Missouri this past August. The officer was not indicted in that case either, spurring protests around the county about an epidemic of African American deaths at the hands of police, who seemingly face no consequences.