Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision Fuels New York Protests, Media Frenzy
News teams scramble to cover protests following a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer who choked a black man to death in an attempted arrest
The New York media frenzy is still in full force a day after a Staten Island grand jury announced it would not indict the white New York Police officer who killed a black man by using a chokehold during an attempted arrest.
A bystander caught the event on video, in which Eric Garner repeatedly said that he could not breathe as NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo continued to hold him in a chokehold. The video went viral and fueled expectations that Pantaleo would be charged.
Angered by the New York decision handed down just a week after a grand jury in Missouri decided not to indict the white police officer who shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in a St. Louis suburb, protesters took to the streets across the country on Wednesday and Thursday.
Locally, New York's news outlets have been covering the Garner news nonstop, especially in NYC, where announcements, protests and memorials have been staged almost hourly.
On Wednesday, news teams scrambled to cover reactions to the news from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, plus the scene in Staten Island, arrests at Times Square, protests on the Brooklyn Bridge and, of course, anything happening around the annual Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center.
Protests simultaneously started online. Soon after the grand jury’s decision, Twitter and Facebook erupted with thousands of messages including the hashtags #EricGarner, #ICantBreathe and #BlackLivesMatter, according to the Wall Street Journal. "Analytics firm Topsy said more than 69,000 tweets were being sent per hour with the hashtag #EricGarner and 16,000 per hour with #ICantBreathe," the paper reported.
Numerous celebrities spoke out online, including Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, Katy Perry and Gabrielle Union.On Thursday, reporters continued to fan the online flames, tweeting from their assignments and retweeting photos of protests. In addition to covering the news for NBC New York, reporter Michael George tweeted from the scene where Garner died.
About 25 people are joining hands to remember Eric Garner at spot where he died pic.twitter.com/FQ68SxrBR0— Michael George (@mgeorge4NY) December 4, 2014
New York Daily News community manager Alex Steinman retweeted local tabloid covers.
CBS New York reporter Matt Kozar tweeted from the scenes he covered.
ABC New York reporter Kemberly Richardson live-tweeted a protest.