Kauffman Foundation, Five Years discussed on Morning Edition

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The Kauffman foundation working together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their lives and be more successful more online at Kaufman daughter work it's morning edition from NPR news I'm no well king and I'm Steve Inskeep of five years after Eric garner died after a choke hold while in police custody federal prosecutors have made a decision they will not charge in New York City police officer involved in his death prosecutors cited insufficient evidence against Daniel Pantaleo garters dying words I can't breathe which he said again and again became a national rallying cry in a flash point in the black lives matter movement those unhappy with the lack of federal prosecution include Josie Duffy rice president of the appeal a news site that focuses on criminal justice she's also co host of the podcast justice in America good morning to you good morning thanks for having me what led the justice department to look into garner's case you know it was that of a long process of five years over four different and attorney generals have been looking into this case and at the DOJ and that came in in and in kind of after that Staten Island district attorney decided not to charge Daniel Pantaleo in this case almost five years ago in December of two thousand fourteen so I'm kind of in light of the moment of police brutality and being found a scene case after case of of men and women being killed by the police especially unarmed black and brown men and women and the department of justice decided that they were going to bring an investigation okay but not now let's look at this decisions we now have two different prosecutors we have a local prosecutor we have federal prosecutors have looked into this and both said insufficient evidence I realize there's a video people have seen it people heard garner's words people feel they know a lot about this but twice now prosecutors have looked into this and just found there's not enough to charge the officer who says he thought he was doing his duty as he sought at the time is there any justification for that point of view well first I'd say that while to prosecutors both it Staten Island and the and the US attorney in Brooklyn have decided not to bring and charges we also saw that the office of civil rights at DOJ did think that this is a case that deserved on charges to be brought so there is some back and forth on on how prosecutors more broadly are looking at this case but it's very difficult right to charge police officers and Anne's cases because functionally they have to prove that they used they willfully used excessive force and that's a very very high standard to have to prove I'm sure because you have to know somebody's intent but was in their mind at the time right and as long as an officer can make a case that he quote unquote feared for his life he has a very very high chance of getting off we see it time after time and in cases across the country where prosecutors are very very hesitant to even bring charges against someone like officer Pantaleo could the Attorney General though have made a different decision within the law even giving they get given what the law says about police officers absolutely he could have brought charges right that's not and that doesn't mean a conviction he could have made a case that there is an argument that the officer acted out of hand that he violated the civil rights of Eric garner and caused his death and and and he could have brought charges in fact and that if they office of civil rights I DOJ recommended that that what we see is that the Attorney General Barr has has decided that he doesn't think that that's that that he can win this case or he doesn't think it's a case for spring okay ms rice thanks so much thank you Josie Duffy rice is an attorney and journalist who advocates for criminal justice reform the US space and rocket center in Huntsville Alabama celebrated the anniversary of the Apollo eleven launched yesterday by trying to set a New World record pretend hill from W. L. R. each has the story.

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