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NEW YORK – A grand jury announced today its decision not to indict a New York Police Department officer in the death of Staten Island father of six, Eric Garner. Garner was killed in July when the officer placed him in an illegal chokehold.

Amnesty International USA executive director, Steven W. Hawkins, issued the following statement:

“The death of Eric Garner, along with those of Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice and others around the country demonstrate the need for a national review on the use of force by law enforcement officers. Amnesty International is urging the Department of Justice to conduct such a review and to collect and publish national data annually on the number of people killed each year by law enforcement."

“Following today’s announcement, activists are likely to protest the decision of the grand jury.  Amnesty International USA reminds officers that they are duty-bound to facilitate the right to peaceful protest, not impede it.”

“Communities, particularly those of color, have a right to expect to be protected by police and should not have to live in fear of them.”

Follow Steven W. Hawkins on Twitter at @StevenWHawkins

As a matter of organizational policy, Amnesty International does not comment on grand jury decisions.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members in over 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.