A New York State appeals court has affirmed an earlier decision not to release the transcriptions and minutes from the grand jury that chose not to indict the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner.
Lawyers for civil rights groups and the public advocate's office in June urged a four-judge panel to release the evidence heard by the grand jury that investigated the chokehold death of Eric Garner during an arrest on Staten Island in July of 2014.
A Staten Island judge ruled in March that the grand jury proceedings should stay sealed. The parties seeking the release of the minutes appealed, saying the public needs to know why the grand jury did not indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo or any other officers seen on cell video arresting Garner last summer when he died.
Former Staten Island DA—now congressman—Dan Donovan disclosed that 50 witnesses testified, but not much more.
Some of the appellate judges took issue with the DA's office selectively releasing details, however.
"Your office seems to wanted to put a very pretty gloss on what happened and kind of sweep everything else under the rug and use grand jury secrecy as its protection," one judge said.
Federal prosecutors are also investigating Garner's death and may be studying the grand jury minutes themselves.
Garner's daughter, Erica, said she's disappointed with the ruling.
"It's another slap in the face," Erica Garner said. "It proves that New York City is still trying to cover up the grand jury proceedings."
Public Advocate Letitia James released a statement, saying, "We will not give up on our quest for justice and transparency. The public deserves to know what happened with that grand jury and why what we saw with our eyes did not match the failure to indict those responsible for Eric Garner’s death."