ASHEVILLE – The protest at Pack Square Park Thursday evening may have been smaller in number than the group which rallied in defense of Michael Brown last week, but that didn't stop participants from making their cries of injustice heard. A crowd of just over 100 people assembled near the Vance Monument in downtown Asheville to protest Wednesday's grand jury decision to end the criminal case against a white New York police officer whose chokehold led to the death of an unarmed black man.
Jurors deliberated for less than a day before deciding there was not enough evidence to go forward with charges against officer Daniel Pantaleo, 29. Pantaleo testified on Nov. 21 that he did not intend to choke Eric Garner, 43, who was being arrested for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. A medical examiner found that Garner's death was a homicide resulting from the chokehold, a move banned by the New York Police Department in 1993. The July death of Garner was captured on video and seen around the world.
"I'm just happy I can do something," said Marshall resident Deb Burns of the protest in the wake of the grand jury's decision "I just can't believe it. Ferguson was one thing, but with this, it is incontrovertible. (Pantaleo) should have at least been indicted and had his day in court."
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