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Grand Jury Decision Regarding Death of Eric Garner
Grand Jury Decision Regarding Death of Eric Garner

The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), issued this statement following the decision by a grand jury to not indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner that took place this summer on Staten Island, NY:

“The fact that the grand jury failed to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner would be a miscarriage of justice at any time. Coming so soon after the all-too-similar failure of the grand jury in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, the NY decision throws into stark relief the growing mistrust many of us have about the ability of our legal system to deliver justice.

In both cases, the victims were African American men. In both cases, they were unarmed. In both cases, the police officers were white. The NYPD officer applied a chokehold to Garner that is explicitly prohibited by NYPD regulations, and the NY medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide. Despite these facts—and a video showing the officer using the prohibited chokehold—there was no indictment and therefore no chance for a jury to rule on this case in open court. There is no justice in this decision.

As appalling as this decision is, we must not give in to despair. I am heartened to hear that the U.S. Justice Department will investigate this case. But no matter what this investigation finds, Eric Garner is dead. Michael Brown is dead. And we must raise our voices, again and again, to proclaim that black lives matter.”

About the Author

  • The Rev. Peter Morales was the eighth president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). He was elected in June 2013 to a second four-year term and resigned in March 2017. Prior to his election, Morales served as the senior minister at Jefferson Unitarian Church in...

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