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Grand jury decision in Eric Garner case may be imminent

Eric Garner

AP Photo/Family photo via National Action Network

NEW YORK -- A grand jury decision is expected to come soon in the death of Eric Garner, who was killed when a police officer used an apparent chokehold during a confrontation in New York City.

Garner, a father of six, died in July after police officer Daniel Pantaleo attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

The grand jury began reviewing evidence in the case on Sept. 29. It is expected to review a range of charges, including manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment.

Pantaleo's attorney, Stuart London, told CBS New York that his client is "nervous."

"(He's) gratified the grand jurors took the time to listen to his testimony. He realizes his fate is in their hands," London said.

In cellphone video of the Garner incident, Pantaleo is seen placing his arm around Garner's neck and then taking him to the ground after Garner refuses to be handcuffed.

Garner is heard saying repeatedly, "I can't breathe!" He died a short time later.

The New York City Medical Examiner's office ruled Garner's death a homicide, caused by the officer's apparent chokehold as well as chest and neck compressions and prone positioning "during physical restraint by police."

An independent forensic investigator hired by the Garner family also agreed with the medical examiner's findings.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Tuesday that extra police officers will be on hand on Staten Island for the decision in Garner's death.

Sources earlier told New York that the NYPD will use the same enforcement model as it did to handle Occupy Wall Street protests in 2012.

Those plans include assigning NYPD task force units to 12-hour shifts, sending in a large contingent of officers on scooters, as well as on foot, and keeping barricade units on standby along with mounted units and aviation.

Sources stressed, however, that the NYPD response to any future Garner case protest will not be "heavy-handed" unless there is immediate damage to people or property.