The day after a grand jury declined to indict a New York police officer in the death of Eric Garner, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the beginning of restraining of the New York Police Department, the largest police force in the United States.
De Blasio said the grand jury decision put the public’s focus on the relationship between police and those they serve. The decision to not indict the officer Daniel Pantaleo for using a chokehold on July 17 when he attempted to arrest Garner for selling loose cigarettes drew protests and calls for reform.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Bill de Blasio” author_title=”New York City Mayor”]
Fundamental questions are being asked, and rightfully so. The way we go about policing has to change… People need to know that black lives and brown lives matter as much as white lives.
The administration has not yet explained exactly what the restrain would entail in terms of training or how the city would cover the costs. Police Commissioner William Bratton said the restraining would require the nearly 22,000 officers to undergo a three-day course, the New York Times reported.
The program, which begins this month, is modeled on the required firearms training that officers must complete regularly. Bratton first announced the department-wide restraining effort after Garner’s death, saying that officers will learn “de-escalation” techniques.
De Blasio’s handling of the Garner case and his response to the decision not to indict the officer has drawn both praise and criticism. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliana called de Blasio’s remarks about the case “racist,” while Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, criticized the mayor for not supporting Pantaleo, the Wall Street Journal reported.
President Obama, however, praised de Blasio and said he called the mayor to commend him for his works.
On Wednesday, the Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department will conduct a federal investigation into the chokehold death of unarmed Garner to look for a potential civil rights violation, Fox News reported.