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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has cancelled his appearance tonight at the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony amid the storm of controversy surrounding the Grand Jury decision not to indict the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner. On Wednesday, the Grand Jury made the decision not to charge Officer Daniel Pantoleo in the death of Garner, after a coroner report indicated that the chokehold used by the officer when arresting Garner contributed to his death, though the man’s poor health was also a factor.
There has been considerable outcry about the officer not facing charges, even though the use of any sort of chokehold has been banned for years in the New York Police Department. It is believed that de Blasio has cancelled his appearance at the tree lighting event in order to avoid having the controversy surrounding the Grand Jury decision cloud the celebration of the annual holiday event. Police have been preparing for protests since the announcement of the decision, and were the mayor to attend this event, it seems unlikely that protesters would be able to resist so public an event to stage some sort of protest.
By Jim Malone
Image Courtesy of Javier Gutierrez Acedo – Flickr License