Eric Garner’s Mother Backs Assemblyman Barron’s Proposed Bill Barring Grand Juries For Police Killings


Assemblyman Charles Barron flanked by Gwen Carr and Rev. Daughtry, right, and Councilmember Inez Barron, left

New York State Assemblyman Charles Barron was joined by Eric Garner’s mother and the families of other victims of police killings on the steps of City Hall to back his proposed bill eliminating grand juries, a secretive and much criticized system, for such incidents.

Barron’s new proposed legislation would require judges to hear evidence in a public probable cause hearing, instead of using grand juries.

Referring to the death of Eric Garner, who was choked by a NYPD police officer, a killing which was recorded on camera, Assemblyman Charles Barron said, “The whole world saw it except this grand jury. And even when we tried to get the minutes from the grand jury to see what they said in secrecy, to see what was presented by the district attorney in secrecy, we couldn’t even get the minutes.” 

Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said more transparency was needed in prosecutions of police, adding “I think the whole country needs to follow suit.”

The bill, (A.8364), was modeled after similar legislation signed last week by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Councilwoman Inez Barron, will be introducing a resolution supporting the bill in the New York City Council. “Blacks and Latinos are subjected to the abuse of the police force more than any other group,” Council member Barron, said. “We don’t want to have to wonder what happened in the grand jury room. We want to go directly to public hearings so that people will know what it is that the D.A.s are presenting in terms of their evidence.”

Even though Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order a month ago appointing Eric Schneiderman the special prosecutor for cases where a police officer kills a civilian, Tyrik Washington, Co- chair of Operation Power,  said, he wished the governor had appointed an independent prosecutor instead.

“The attorney general still has to deal with special interest groups like the police union that is running rampant in our community,” Washington, said. “We know that the D.A. out in Staten Island used the Eric Garner tragedy as a stepping stool to run for Congress. And we all know how ambitious our attorney general is. There’s already speculations that he is running for governor.”

In closing, Assemblyman Barron promised to start a grassroots campaign to promote support for the bill. “We’re going to build a people’s movement to generate tremendous pressure for them to do the right thing,” Barron said.

In addition to Gwen Carr, others who joined Barron outside City Hall were: Nicholas Heyward Sr., the father of Nicholas Heyward Jr., both sons killed by law enforcement; and, Rev. Herbert Daughtry, in addition to leaders of several community organizations.



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