LOS ANGELES (December 4, 2014) — Yesterday, a Staten Island grand jury failed to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed African American man. Despite the finding by the city’s medical examiner that Mr. Garner’s death was a homicide resulting from the illegal chokehold maneuver, the grand jury chose not to indict Officer Pantaleo. This injustice comes just one week after a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s failure to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of unarmed 18-year old African American teenager Michael Brown.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) issues the following statement:
Advancing Justice – LA condemns the failure of the grand jury to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the illegal chokehold killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed African American man. This non-indictment – that comes just one week after the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the senseless killing of unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown – is yet another travesty of injustice that exposes the deeply entrenched and systemic bias and discrimination against African Americans in this country.
Advancing Justice-LA stands in solidarity with the African American community in demanding an end to racial profiling and excessive force by law enforcement across the nation. Every 28 hours an African American is killed by a law enforcement officer, security guard, or self-appointed vigilante.
We support U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement of a federal investigation into this case and President Barack Obama’s recent announcement of federal initiatives to promote community policing. But there also must be structural reforms on the state and local levels to eliminate racial profiling and police brutality. Moreover, we call on law enforcement agencies – including here in Los Angeles – to respect the democratic and constitutional rights of community members to exercise their free speech in protest of these systemic abuses.
“We cannot breathe” until there is justice for Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, and countless other African Americans killed at the hands of law enforcement officers.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice – LA’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AANHPI community while also building a strong AANHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.