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New York state Supreme Court rules that Eric Garner grand jury minutes will remain sealed

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The testimony a New York City grand jury heard before declining to indict a white police officer in the 2014 chokehold death of unarmed black man Eric Garner will remain secret, the state’s highest court ruled on Monday.

The New York Court of Appeals declined to review a lower court’s decision in July not to release the grand jury minutes, ensuring they will remain sealed.

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Civil rights groups and the city’s public advocate had sought to review the secret proceedings, after the decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death sparked widespread protests last December.

Grand jury materials are typically not made public.

The court did not offer any explanation. In July, a midlevel appellate court ruled the “public interest in preserving grand jury secrecy outweighed the public interest in disclosure.”

Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, was selling loose cigarettes illegally on Staten Island in New York City on July 17 last year when Pantaleo placed him in a chokehold, a maneuver banned by the New York City Police Department, and tackled him to the ground with the help of other police officers.

The incident was caught on video, including Garner’s pleas that he could not breathe, and the city medical examiner later ruled Garner’s death a homicide, with asthma and obesity as contributing factors.

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Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups seeking to have the grand jury proceedings released, said it would press for changes to the law regarding grand jury secrecy in cases when civilians due at the hands of police.

“No one has been held accountable for the death of Eric Garner, and New Yorkers still don’t know why,” she said.

A spokesman for the Staten Island district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment late on Monday.

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New York City agreed in July to pay Garner’s family $5.9 million to resolve a claim over his death.

The grand jury’s decision not to indict Pantaleo came just a week after a grand jury in Missouri declined to charge a white police officer with the shooting of an unarmed black man.

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That decision sparked a fresh round of violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Prosecutors in that case elected to release some grand jury testimony in an effort to show the proceeding had been fair.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Tom Brown)


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FBI has ‘no intelligence’ Antifa was involved in Sunday’s violence at DC protests: report

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Attorney General Bill Barr and President Donald Trump have tried to blame Antifa -- or anti-fascists -- for violence in the protests against police injustice. But the public data has backed up their case, and even their on intel disputes the argument.

"he FBI’s Washington Field Office “has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the violence that occurred on May 31, according to an internal FBI situation report obtained exclusively by The Nation. That same day, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would designate Antifa a terrorist organization, even though the government has no existing authority to declare a domestic group a terrorist organization," Ken Klippenstein reported for the magazine.

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NYC protesters defy curfew — with a profane message for Mayor Bill de Blasio

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Protesters in New York City continued to march after 8 p.m. on Tuesday -- in open defiance of a curfew order from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Jan Ransom, who covers courts and jails for The New York Times, posted video of protesters chanting, "f*ck your curfew."

Wonder what protesters think about @NYCMayor’s 8 pm curfew?

Just listen. pic.twitter.com/8H38XNGfQt

— Jan Ransom (@Jan_Ransom) June 2, 2020

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DC police demand people standing in line to vote go home — even though they’re exempt from curfew: report

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Although Washington, D.C. is under curfew due to the George Floyd protests, the DC Board of Elections and Mayor Muriel Bowser have made clear that anyone waiting to vote in the district's primary elections are exempt from the curfew.

But according to the reports of at least one voter, some police in the district are still telling people waiting in line to vote to disperse and return to their homes.

THIS MOMENT IN WASHINGTON, DC:• A citywide curfew in effect• It's election day• Voters are exempt from the curfew• This line to vote is stretches all 4 sides of the block• Peaceful protests underway only blocks away@NBCLX @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/5uru5Yow1E

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