paper trail

Staten Island grand jury fails to indict Daniel Pantaleo

In New York, a Staten Island grand jury failed to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who put Eric Garner in the chokehold that killed him. It would be astonishing and enraging under any circumstances, but it’s even more so coming so closely on the heels of the Saint Louis grand jury that failed to bring charges against Darren Wilson. Thousands of protesters gathered in Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Union Square after the announcement, and succeeded in blocking traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel, Brooklyn Bridge, and R.F.K. Bridge. Eighty-three people were arrested. This evening there will be a demonstration at Foley Square at 5:30 and another on 125th Street and Park Avenue at 6:00.

At the New Yorker, Jonathan Blitzer talked to Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, as she waited to hear the grand jury’s decision. Carr told the reporter that she was relieved when she found out that there was video evidence of Garner’s fatal encounter with the police, during which an officer strangled Garner to death: “I said to myself, ‘there is a God.’” Blitzer’s piece ends with a chilling quote from police commissioner William Bratton, who said the NYPD was prepared for the inevitable protests, and added, in an astoundingly insensitive pun: “We have the ability to have a level of tolerance—breathing room, if you will.”

At The Toast, Mallory Ortberg wonders what good putting body cameras on police officers will do: “Eric Garner died unarmed. He died on the ground. He died because of an illegal chokehold. We saw it. The grand jury saw it. They saw it, and we saw it, and collectively we said, ‘We didn’t see that. That didn’t happen.’”

Emily Gould picks her favorite novels of the year for The Millions, among them books by Sarah Waters, Mira Jacob, Elisa Albert, Nell Zink, and, as one (male) commenter apparently couldn’t resist complaining, just one guy, Brian Morton. Another commenter suggests (and we concur) that anyone similarly concerned about the lack of dudes can go look for them on just about every other year-end list.

The arts writer Carol Vogel has taken a buyout from the New York Times.