Activists gather at the National Action Network to condemn the grand jury decision clearing the police officer in the Eric Garner case and call for 2015 to be year of action. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Civil rights leaders from 25 different organizations gathered at the National Action Network headquarters in New York on Thursday (December 4) to call for 2015 to be a year of action in pushing for criminal justice reforms following the Staten Island grand jury decision to clear a police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed African American. Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, said the year of action would start immediately, beginning with a march in Washington next Saturday (December 13) to promote their efforts in the nation's capital. "We announce today collectively a call to action for the year 2015 and collectively we commit that our actions and our efforts to promote the cause of justice, to push for criminal justice reform, to change the landscape in the relationship between police and communities across the nation, will not end but will begin refreshed anew with vigor, enthusiasm and power today," Morial said, alongside Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, Melanie Campbell of the Black Women's Roundtable, and Hazel Dukes of the NAACP New York State Conference. The news conference came a day after the Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner during an arrest attempt in July. In a video of the incident on a Staten Island sidewalk, Pantaleo is seen placing Garner in a chokehold. The father of six is then heard repeatedly gasping "I can't breathe, I can't breathe" as he is being restrained by police. The city's medical examiner said police officers had killed Garner by compressing his neck and chest, and ruled the death a homicide, adding that Garner's asthma and obesity had contributed to his death. Chokeholds are prohibited by New York police regulations, but the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the municipal police union, said the officers involved in the Garner incident had acted within the law.