Protests over a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold death of Staten Island man Eric Garner — despite video of the incident — took over Mount Vernon last night, shortening the annual Washington Monument lighting ceremony.
The fireworks and the lighting were moved earlier, and some performers were cut from the program, as hundreds of protesters who began at McKeldin Square marched toward the Washington Monument to stage a “die-in.” The Baltimore Sun reports that the protesters shouted “No justice, no holiday! No justice, no peace!” Shouts of “Black Lives Matter” could be heard against Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” as the fireworks display went on.
This most recent failure to indict a police officer in the death of an unarmed black man not only gives credence to the view that we have a “national crisis” on our hands, but also calls into question the efficacy of police body cameras — a hot topic here in Baltimore. Video footage of Eric Garner’s death didn’t bring an indictment on any charge, which suggests that there’s more preventing prosecution of police abuses that a simple lack of video evidence.
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