Bill de Blasio: ‘More Information Would Be Helpful’ From Garner Grand Jury

Protests for Eric Garner. (Daniel Cole/For New York Observer)

Protests for Eric Garner. (Daniel Cole/For New York Observer)

Mayor Bill de Blasio said today he believed more information should be released to the public in the Eric Garner case.

“On a common sense level, I think more information would be helpful,” Mr. de Blasio, who noted he is not a lawyer, told the Observer at press conference at the Police Academy in Queens.

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan asked a state judge to release only “specific information” about the evidence presented to the grand jury that declined to bring an indictment in the death of Eric Garner, a black Staten Island man who died as a white police officer, Daniel Pantaelo, tried to arrest him. Mr. Donovan did not request the release of transcripts or evidence seen by the jurors—material that was released in the wake of grand jury deliberations in the Michael Brown case in Missouri.

“I think people have a lot of questions, and they’d like to understand more of what was presented to the grand jury and how deliberations were done,” Mr. de Blasio told the Observer when asked whether Mr. Donovan should request the release of transcripts and other material. “I think that would be helpful.”

Unlike other elected officials, the mayor has declined to criticize Mr. Donovan or the grand jury for their decision not to bring an indictment in the case.

The information requested for release by Mr. Donovan, and released in the judge’s ruling, was extremely limited: that the grand jury sat for nine weeks, heard from 50 witnesses (22 of them civilians), were informed of the laws regulating use of force and were presented 60 exhibits of evidence. That evidence included four videos, records about NYPD policies, procedures and training, autopsy photographs, records of Garner’s medical treatment after his encounter with Mr. Pantaleo and photographs of the scene.

Bill de Blasio: ‘More Information Would Be Helpful’ From Garner Grand Jury