New Yorkers Protest Chokehold Decision

Activists took to the streets December 3 chanting “I can’t breathe,” to protest a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer for the death of an unarmed Staten Island man. (By Cristian Santana)

The altercation, which was caught on video, showed multiple officers attempting to restrain Eric Garner, 43, including officer Daniel Pantaleo, 29, who used a chokehold to bring him down.

After viewing video and taking statements from the officer who killed Garner, the jury decided that there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges.

Protesters rallied against police using excessive force to resolve conflicts. They chanted, yelled accusations of injustice, and displayed their general displeasure with law enforcement officials.

Garner died in July after several NYPD confronted him for allegedly selling single cigarettes or "loosies."

The diverse crowd came from all parts of the city. Patricia Pate from Rego Park was in Times Square. “I can’t imagine that we had video tape of this issue and that isn’t good enough,” she said. “Then what the hell does?”

Elizabeth Molina, 28, from Harlem said she no longer felt comfortable with the police. “It doesn’t feel safe anymore," she said. "They’re getting away with murder. And the worst part is there are still good cops!”

Enough is enough said Maria Beltran. “I came out because we have to say something, because too many people are dying by the hands of people who are supposed to protect us,” she said. “To hide from the people who are supposed to protect you — it’s scary.”

Protesters attempted to disrupt the annual Christmas tree lighting in nearby Rockefeller Center but there was a heavy police presence.

After the tree lit up so did the city, with protesters marching through Times Square, blocking vehicle traffic on the Henry Hudson parkway and blocking the walkways at Grand Central Terminal by organizing a mass sit in.

More protests are planned this weekend along Fifth Avenue. The U.S. Department of Justice has announced a probe into the incident.

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