It is possible.
While unimaginable for some, it's conceivable that New Yorkers should brace themselves for no indictment in the Eric Garner Case to go along with no indictment in Ferguson.
In the New York Daily News, under the headline of "Staten Island grand jury must issue indictment in Eric Garner case to avoid riots seen in Ferguson," this is what columnist Denis Hamill said:
The people of Ferguson, Mo. needed an indictment against Police Officer Darren Wilson, and didn't get one. In Staten Island, a grand jury is deciding on whether to indict an NYPD cop for the chokehold that killed Eric Garner. For the sakes of the city, an indictment is needed or else the riots erupting in Ferguson will occur here, too.
As the protests have illustrated throughout the country in the last few days, this entire issue of alleged Police Brutality is still a raw nerve.
A colleague of mine just recently said regarding the Eric Garner case, "the video does not lie."
When it comes to Grand Juries, and more importantly the case the prosecutor puts before the grand jury, the "video does not lie," argument could amount to wishful thinking.
Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo, 29, is seen in a viral video placing Eric Garner in what appears to clearly be a chokehold.
But the case could all come down to this: Do you really see what you think you are seeing?
For example, the officer reportedly told the special grand jury that he didn't intend on seriously harming Mr. Garner, and more importantly, that it was not a chokehold.
The city's medical examiner ruled the death a homicide by a chokehold, but, and this could sway a grand jury, with various contributing health factors, like acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity and hypertensive cardiovascular disease.
I will concede this much. The mere mentioning of do you really see, what you think you are seeing in the video might prove to be insulting to 9 out of 10 people. The obvious counter attack is that its spin, double-talk, but it could prove to be just enough for the Grand Jury to clear Officer Panteleo.
Another major factor: Jason Leventhal, a former assistant district attorney in Staten Island who now brings civil rights cases against the department told me one night on TV that jury pools in Staten Island often include many people with relatives in law enforcement. Leventhal went on to tell me, and you can see the interview here: "Staten Island is a very pro-police community that is going to give the benefit of the doubt to police officers," he said.
I want you to judge and watch the involved parties for yourself, but please keep in mind that police officers are given broad latitude on force based on their professional judgment.
This is what the President of the PBA Pat Lynch told me on TV:
Point one, "it was not a chokehold."
Point two: "while tragic, none of this would have happened if Mr. Garner, a 350-pound man did not refuse to be arrested." PBA President Pat Lynch
Her is part one of the Pat Lynch Interview.
It bears repeating, on the Garner video, do you really see, what you think you are seeing?
Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and the police commissioner, William J. Bratton, said it appeared to show a chokehold, but keep in mind, and this too can play a major deciding role with the Grand Jury, for more than 20 years, while the Police Department has banned chokeholds, though they are not prohibited by state law.
I recently wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post agreeing with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Black-on-black crime, and I have to wonder if there is a connection to this issue when there are such encounters between the community and Police.
For my liberal/progressive friends that wonder how could I say such a thing, I recommend you sit down, and really look at this Milwaukee police chief for three minutes, exactly a year ago following the fatal shooting of a five-year-old child.
The Staten Island Grand Jury can return an indictment. The public may expect the Staten Island Grand Jury to return an indictment.
However the reality may prove to be quite different. It may come down to no indictment in Ferguson and no indictment in the chokehold NYPD case of Eric Garner.