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'Hell No': Garner Family Rejects Cop's Condolences After Grand Jury Decision

Eric Garner's family says they can't understand how a jury didn't indict a white police officer in the death of the 43-year-old man in July.

The widow of Eric Garner, the unarmed black man who died after being put in what officials called a police "chokehold," Wednesday night angrily rejected a gesture from the officer that offered her his prayers and condolences.

"Hell no. The time for remorse would have been when my husband was yelling to breathe. That would have been time for him to show some type of remorse, or some type of care for another human being's life," Esaw Garner said at a news conference when asked about the condolences offered by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo after a grand jury earlier Wednesday declined to indict him for Eric Garner’s death on July 17.

"No I don’t accept his apology. No, I could care less about his condolences. He’s still working, he’s still getting a paycheck, he’s still feeding his kids. And my husband is six feet under, and I’m looking for a way to feed my kids now," she said.

The Rev. Al Sharpton announced that a national march on Washington would be held Dec. 13 to demand more federal involvement in cases where police officers kill members of the community.

A grand jury found no probable cause to charge Pantaleo with a crime after Pantaleo used what a medical examiner described as a chokehold in arresting Garner for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes that day. Garner, 43, is heard on video of the incident complaining that "I can’t breathe!" and he died a short time later.

Last week a Missouri grand jury declined to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, in the shooting death of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown, and on Nov. 22 a white Cleveland police officer fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who is black and was playing with a pellet gun in that city.

"How many people have to die before people understand this is a reality America has got to come to terms with?" Sharpton said. "And no amount of secret grand juries with local prosecutors who brought up evidence we cannot know, are going to stop us from demanding answers."

Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said she was shocked that the grand jury reached the decision that it did, especially considering the entire incident was recorded.

"I don’t know what video they were looking at," she said of the grand jury. "Evidently it wasn’t the same one that the rest of the world was looking at. How could we put our trust in the justice system when they fail us like this?"



— Phil Helsel