Prosecutor in NY chokehold case running for Congress

AP News
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Posted: Jan 09, 2015 7:58 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York prosecutor who handled the case in which a white police officer was cleared in the chokehold death of a black man said Friday he's running in a special election for Congress.

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan issued a statement saying he is formally seeking the endorsements of the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties.

He said that since he first expressed interest, "The enthusiasm for my candidacy has only broadened and intensified."

Donovan's announcement did not mention the July 17 death of Eric Garner, 43, after scuffling with officers who were arresting him for selling untaxed cigarettes. Amateur video showed an officer holding Garner around the neck as Garner gasped, "I can't breathe."

A Staten Island grand jury decided against indicting the policeman, and Garner's death, like that of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, touched off nationwide protests. They were cited by a gunman who murdered two New York City police officers last month.

Donovan said when the officer was cleared that the grand jury found "no reasonable cause" to charge him. His spokeswoman, Madelaine St. Onge, said Friday the campaign had no further comment on the Garner case.

A call to the Rev. Al Sharpton, a leader of protests after Garner's death, was not immediately returned.

No date has been set yet for the special election, made necessary by the resignation of Rep. Michael Grimm after he pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges. Candidates are to be chosen by parties or through petitions.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement that electing Donovan would create "another political sideshow."

Republican state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis has also expressed interest in the congressional seat. Potential Democratic candidates include state Assemblyman Michael Cusick and former U.S. Rep. Michael McMahon, who lost to Grimm in 2010.