No charges for New York cop in chokehold death: Media

Esaw Garner, the widow of Eric Garner, cries as civil rights activist Al Sharpton speaks at the National Action Network in the Harlem Borough of New York in this file photo from Nov 29, 2014. A grand jury on Wednesday said it would not charge a white
Esaw Garner, the widow of Eric Garner, cries as civil rights activist Al Sharpton speaks at the National Action Network in the Harlem Borough of New York in this file photo from Nov 29, 2014. A grand jury on Wednesday said it would not charge a white New York police officer in the choking death of a black man, US media reported. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Benjamin Carr (centre), stepfather of Eric Garner, leaves the Staten Island prosecutors office in the Staten Island borough of New York Dec 3, 2014. A New York grand jury has decided not to charge police officer Daniel Pantaleo who killed an unarmed
Benjamin Carr (centre), stepfather of Eric Garner, leaves the Staten Island prosecutors office in the Staten Island borough of New York Dec 3, 2014. A New York grand jury has decided not to charge police officer Daniel Pantaleo who killed an unarmed black man, Garner, with a chokehold while trying to arrest him for illegally selling cigarettes, a lawyer for the victim's family said on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - A grand jury on Wednesday said it would not charge a white New York police officer in the choking death of a black man, US media reported.

Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father-of-six, died after being placed in a chokehold by New York police Officer Daniel Pantaleo while being arrested on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes in Staten Island.

The decision comes shortly after a grand jury in the Missouri town of Ferguson declined to charge another white officer who shot dead an unarmed black teen, in a case that triggered nationwide protests.

Authorities in New York were concerned that Wednesday’s grand jury decision would lead to violence.

In recent days protesters have demonstrated – largely peacefully – in New York to decry what they say is the over-reliance of aggressive tactics by police, especially against black people.

Cellphone footage of the July 17 confrontation showed Garner, who has asthma, complaining “I can’t breathe” after being bundled onto the ground by several police officers.

He fell unconscious and was declared dead at a local hospital.

A New York medical examiner ruled the death a homicide caused in part by the chokehold used during the arrest.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday that authorities need to address the “underlying reality” highlighted by the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Garner in New York.

The grand jury in New York’s Staten Island had been hearing evidence since September and reportedly heard from its final witness last week.

Several US media outlets including the New York Times and New York Post first reported the decision not to indict Pantaleo.