As a former homicide and rackets prosecutor, I presented many cases to grand juries, including investigative grand juries. In the Garner situation, so far, no one is talking about the way it really works in the grand jury. Normally, prosecutors decide what they want to do with a case before they put it into a grand jury, structure the presentation of evidence and charge it out with that goal in mind. That is standard operating procedure. Prosecutors also decide which jury room or grand jury they will present the evidence to, there is nothing left to chance. Prosecutors think about and can control the composition of the grand jury, the race, gender, etc of the panelists. Prosecutors avoid particular panels that they believe might not go the way they want them to go. It is rare that a grand jury will reach a result other than what the presenting prosecutor is seeking.
The Garner homicide should never have been handled by a local prosecutor with strong ties and an ongoing relationship with the NYPD in Staten Island. That decision was foolish and has simply exposed how corrupt the process can be in Staten Island.
New York State has complete transactional immunity for witnesses testifying in the grand jury! That is, once the other police officers (who watched Garner get choked to death, stood idly by and did nothing and then falsified records and lied about what had occurred) testified in the grand jury, they received an “Immunity bath” and can no longer be prosecuted for any State crime! NY State prosecutors know about and carefully decide immunity issues above all else – they weigh extremely carefully who they put in front of the grand jury. The decision of the SI prosecutor to put these officers in the grand jury and give them immunity is further proof that the goal from the outset was to exonerate the police officers.
People are blaming the one cop who choked Garner, but what I saw on the video was several other cops watching as Garner died on the ground, not rendering assistance, doing nothing while he was choked to death, telling them that he could not breathe.
The unapologetic and corrupt machinations of local prosecutors across the country are shocking and reveal how polarized we are across the country. The only positive aspect is that what has remained hidden and ignored is finally being revealed to the world.