Politics & Government

‘Black lives do matter,’ Black Caucus chair says after N.Y. grand jury fails to indict police officer for death of unarmed black man

The chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Wednesday denounced the decision of a Staten Island grand jury not to indict a New York City police officer for the chokehold death of an unarmed African-American man.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, the CBC chair, said she was ‘deeply disappointed’ that the grand jury didn’t indict police Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner. The verdict came nearly two weeks after a grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., declined to indict a white police office in the shooting death of Michael Brown, who was also unarmed.

Garner was arrested in July for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on the sidewalk on Staten Island. New York’s medical examiner said Garner’s death was a homicide, the result from the chokehold and compression on his chest by police officers.

‘In the span of two weeks, this nation seems to have heard one message loud and clear: there will be no accountability for taking black lives,’ Fudge said in a statement. ‘As an American, it is growing increasingly difficult to believe that there is justice for all.’

Fudge added: ‘I ask for calm yet resolute voices to be heard in our communities. It is imperative that people of good will, those who believe in a just and fair criminal justice system, hear our voices. Black lives do matter and our lives do hold value.’