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Mother of Eric Garner meets with Cuomo

Karen DeWitt
Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner (far left), and other family members of people killed in police encounters, speak with reporters after meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The families of people killed in encounters with police met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tuesday. They say the governor promised them he would issue an executive order to name a special prosecutor to investigate the deaths of their relatives, but only if the legislature does not approve Cuomo’s plan to create an independent monitor to look at such incidents.

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died after police on Staten Island put him in a chokehold, says Cuomo gave them time to speak.

“I feel that the meeting was very positive,” said Carr, who  said Cuomo promised to meet with them again in a few weeks.

The families say they don’t agree with the idea of an independent monitor, and think it would be too weak and “counter productive.”  They would like Cuomo to issue an executive order setting up a special prosecutor now.

Alphonso David, counsel to Cuomo, in a statement, confirmed that the governor will take action if he does not get agreement from the legislature between now and the end of June, when the session ends.   

“The governor …made it clear that if these reforms were not approved by the legislature, he would sign an order creating a special prosecutor for police-involved fatalities,” said David, in a statement. “These families have endured unspeakable losses and their voices are important ones in this debate. The governor has vowed to keep the dialogue open and meet with them again in the coming weeks.”

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.