Civil rights leaders decry decision in chokehold death
Civil rights leaders are declaring 2015 a year of action after a grand jury decision not to indict an NYPD officer in the apparent chokehold death of a Staten Island man.
Leaders from across the country met at the National Action Network's headquarters in Harlem Thursday, a day after a grand jury failed to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner.
The group of activists laid out a blueprint of several events that will take place over the coming weeks to highlight their frustrations with the Garner case, as well as the shooting of Michael Brown and a host of similar incidents in which officers weren't criminally charged for their actions.
Their efforts will kick off with a march on Washington on Saturday, Dec. 13. They also are planning to convene a major civil rights and social justice summit to discuss justice education, their demands for the U.S. Justice Department and boycotts.
Rev. Al Sharpton, National Urban League President Marc Morial and the NAACP's Hazel Dukes are among those who are leading the cause for what they say is needed criminal justice reform.
"The grand jury systems on a state level are broken," said Sharpton.
President Barack Obama has also weighed in on the issue. "Beyond the specific issue that has to be addressed--making sure that people have confidence that police and law enforcement and prosecutors are serving everybody equally--there's the larger question of restoring the sense of common purpose," he said.
Many other local city leaders are also expressing their frustration and disappointment with the decision, as well as citizens.
Protesters have taken to the streets in New York, Los Angeles and in St. Louis.
In Ferguson, Missouri, a grand jury also recently declined to indict another officer, Darren Wilson, in the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown.
In New York, Pantaleo has apologized to Garner's family for his role in the death, but Garner's widow said she isn't ready to forgive.