Eric Garner grand jury case

May 12, 2015

The Reporters Committee and 28 other media organizations filed an amicus brief in support of an appeal of the denial of access to information from the Eric Garner grand jury investigation in Long Island, N.Y. The New York Post, along with a coalition of public interest groups that included the NYCLU, Legal Aid Society, the NYC Public Advocate and the Staten Island branch of the NAACP, petitioned for release of documents, transcripts, videos, photos, and other materials from the grand jury. Garner was killed when NYPD officers used a chokehold on him on July 17, 2014. The New York trial court ruled that none of the petitioners had articulated a "compelling and particularized need" for the material. On appeal, the Reporters Committee amicus brief argued that the public interest was best served by disclosing the grand jury materials in this case. In light of the national controversy over the use of lethal force by police and the fairness of the grand jury system, more disclosure about the grand jury process itself was necessary to eliminate confusion, to restore confidence in the integrity of the justice system, to provide information necessary to make reforms to the criminal justice system, and to scrutinize the performance of public officials.