WASHINGTON, D.C.—People For the American Way released the following statement from PFAW President Michael B. Keegan after Attorney General William Barr declined to prosecute New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo for his role in Eric Garner’s death.
“Public officials who refuse to hold police accountable send a strong signal that they think Black lives do not matter. This is a painful reminder of the broken, unjust systems that continue to undermine people and communities of color. Both the state of New York and Trump’s Justice Department failed Eric Garner, his family, and every American who seeks justice under the law.
“Even more troubling, media reports indicate that Attorney General William Barr ignored the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division’s recommendation to prosecute Pantaleo, whose illegal chokehold caused Garner’s death. Not only did Barr make this decision almost exactly on the anniversary of Garner’s death and after the death of his daughter, Erica Garner, but it also comes in the context of Trump’s ongoing racist attacks against people of color, including members of Congress.
“Barr is giving Trump what he wants, and what he wants is an America where Black lives do not matter.”
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.