Contact: Hilary Lyons 646-653-2871

Gwen Carr, Advocates, Call on Mayor de Blasio to Stop Blocking Transparency and Drop the Appeal in Judicial Inquiry into NYPD Killing of Eric Garner

New York, NY – Lawyers for Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD are maneuvering once again to delay a public judicial inquiry into the violations and neglect of duty by Mayor de Blasio, and top NYPD and city officials, related to the unjust killing of Eric Garner. Yesterday, lawyers for Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, and the petitioners involved in the case, filed papers opposing the City’s motion for a stay of all further proceedings in this case while the City’s appeal of a September 2020 order paving the way for the inquiry to move forward is pending. Gwen Carr, petitioners, Communities United for Police Reform, and the Justice Committee are once again calling on the Mayor to stop obstructing transparency into Eric Garner’s killing and the subsequent cover-up. 

Separate from the City’s ongoing appeal in the Appellate Division – First Department, today a new judge appointed to the case in New York State Supreme Court, Justice Erika M. Edwards, is allowing petitioners to move forward with requests for discovery. Justice Edwards ordered petitioners to send their requests for discovery to the City, and both parties are due back in court on April 20th to iron out any disputes on the requests and to determine if discovery will be granted.

“A judge ruled in September and then again in December that this judicial inquiry could go forward. Mayor de Blasio is desperately trying to stop this inquiry because he knows that the NYPD and his administration lied and tried to cover up my son’s killing,” said Gwen Carr (she/her), mother of Eric Garner. “I have been fighting for my son Eric since 2014—nearly seven years of dealing with the Mayor’s tactics to delay and avoid answering questions about Eric’s killing and why he’s refused to fire all the officers responsible. It’s been nearly seven years of waiting for officers like Justin D’Amico and Lt. Christopher Bannon to be fired, or even to face discipline charges. The court has ruled in our favor a number of times on this issue. It’s time for the Mayor to drop his cowardly appeal, stop the tricks, and start answering our questions.”

“The City has tried time and again to block transparency into Eric Garner’s killing and the courts consistently deny their attempts, rejecting their arguments,” said Loyda Colon, (they/them),  Executive Director of Justice Committee and spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “The City is now trying to deny justice by delaying the proceedings even more. It’s been nearly a year and a half since we filed our original petition for a judicial inquiry—the delays must stop. Eric’s family and all New Yorkers, deserve to know the truth about what we believe to be a massive cover-up and protection of abusive officers – and why none of the officers besides Pantaleo have been fired.”

 Alvin Bragg (he/him/his), Co-Director of New York Law School’s (NYLS) Racial Justice Project and former NYS Chief Deputy Attorney General; Gideon Oliver (he/him/his), a past President of the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild; and Melissa Toback-Levin (she/her/hers), and Rachel Welt (she/her/hers), NYLS Lewis Steel Racial Justice Fellows, are the lawyers for the petitioners.

“While we hoped that the Mayor’s office and the NYPD would stop blocking our attempts to uncover the truth about what happened during and in the aftermath of Eric Garner’s killing, they continue to delay proceedings at every turn,” said Bragg and Oliver. “We hope that the Court will agree with the Supreme Court that this case can, and should, continue to move forward, so we can hold the Mayor and the NYPD accountable for their violations and neglect of duty related to the killing of Eric Garner.”

Background: A historic petition was filed in August 2019, demanding a judicial inquiry into the violation and neglect of duty by Mayor de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner O’Neill, and others related to the unjust killing of Eric Garner. Petitioners included Gwen Carr, Ellisha Flagg Garner, Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham, Loyda Colon of Justice Committee, Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform, Monifa Bandele of Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Mark Winston Griffith of Brooklyn Movement Center, and Kesi Foster of Make the Road New York.

In September of 2020, NY Supreme Court Justice Joan A. Madden ruled to allow the judicial inquiry to proceed. Unhappy with the court’s decision to allow the petition to proceed, the City tried once again to block the petition by filing a notice of appeal and by attempting to argue that there was an automatic stay to all further proceedings before the Supreme Court while the City’s appeal was pending. In December, Justice Madden rejected the City’s arguments, meaning that further proceedings related to the inquiry could move forward, unless the City seeks and wins a stay from an appeals court. Now, the Mayor’s legal team is attempting to stay the proceedings again. Gwen Carr, Communities United for Police Reform, Justice Committee and petitioners are calling on the de Blasio administration to drop their appeal.

As part of a judicial inquiry, Mayor de Blasio, former NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, and others could be called to take the stand as part of the investigation into the city’s neglect and violation of duties related to the killing of Eric Garner.


About Communities United for Police Reform

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.

Topics: Eric Garner