James Appeals Decision Keeping Garner Grand Jury Minutes Sealed
Public Advocate Letitia James announced she would immediately appeal State Supreme Court Judge William Garnett’s decision not to unseal the grand jury minutes in the Eric Garner case.
Garner died in Staten Island July 17 after a confrontation with the police, who wanted to arrest him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold as he and other officers tried to make the arrest. Garner was taped saying he couldn’t breathe and then collapsed and died on the sidewalk.
After Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan brought the matter to a grand jury who returned a verdict of no charges against any of the police involved. This prompted James along with the New York Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and The New York Post to file a suit asking the court to unseal the transcripts.
“We are clearly disappointed with this ruling, but undaunted in our quest for justice and promoting reform of a broken system,” said James. “The secrecy of the grand jury process is not absolute, it is not sacrosanct, it should not be shrouded in secrecy, or cloaked from the watchful eyes of the public.”
The federal Justice Department is also investigating the case.
Cornegy Goes To Boys & Girls High School
Bedford-Stuyvesant City Council Member Robert Cornegy, Jr. is joining Brooklyn Commissioner of the Board of Elections, Dr. John Flateau, and Director of Voter Assistance for the New York City Campaign Finance Board, Onida Coward Mayers to Boys & Girls High School today as part of Student Voter Registration Day (SVRD).
SVRD is a non-partisan civic education and voter registration targeting young students to get involved in the political system. The pilot program will comprise a day of civic education and voter registration for 17- and 18-year-olds. 15 Council Members and 25 schools across all five boroughs are participating in the day’s activities.
“I’m an early adopter of Student Voter Registration Day because the strategy that worked 50 years ago in Selma is still relevant,” said Cornegy. “Young people must have the full range of civic engagement, from demanding change to controlling it through the vote. I know our young people have the passion to follow through, just as their grandparents did.”
Felder, Savino, Golden Back Property Tax Limits
Brooklyn State Senators Sincha Felder, Diane Savino and Marty Golden all voted for a measure that Staten Island Sen. Andrew Lanza introduced that would establish limitations upon real property tax levies in New York City, capping growth at two percent (or the Consumer Price Index (CPI),
whichever is less).
“On a regular basis, throughout my district and across the five boroughs, people speak to me about the increased cost of property taxes and the effect on their personal family budget. This legislation, now heading to the State Assembly for passage, if signed by Governor Cuomo, will provide much needed
property tax relief to property owners,” said Golden.
“Once again Senator Lanza is at the forefront of leading the effort to relieve New York City property owners who are being strangled over and over again by ever-increasing property taxes,” said Felder.
De Blasio Does Fundraiser For Gentile
Mayor Bill de Blasio, last night, facilitated a fundraiser for Bay Ridge City Council member Vinnie Gentile, who is running for the 11th Congressional District seat in a special election on May 5.
The event was held at the Manhattan home of Bill Samuels, a wealthy political donor and activist who is often involved in progressive causes.
At post time it was not known how much money Gentile raised.