WASHINGTON -- Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, who gained national attention for failing to bring an indictment against the police officer who killed Eric Garner, said Tuesday he is "very seriously considering" running for Congress.
Donovan's statement came after Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) announced Monday he would resign from Congress, effective Jan. 5. The congressman recently pleaded guilty to one count of felony tax fraud.
“Last night and this morning, with the announcement that a vacancy will exist, my phone has been ringing off the hook,” Donovan said in a statement reported by the New York Observer. “I am deeply flattered by the enthusiastic expressions of support I have received over the last 12 hours, and I am very seriously considering the race. I will make an announcement after the due deliberation such an important decision deserves.”
The Observer also reported that Donovan is favored by the borough's "Republican machine" to replace Grimm.
Garner, an unarmed African-American man, died on July 17 in Staten Island after police officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold and pushed him to the ground in order to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes. Garner repeatedly said, "I can't breathe" before he died.
Although the scene was captured on video by a bystander, a Staten Island grand jury decided on Dec. 3 not to indict the police officer, sparking nationwide protests. A significant amount of ire has been directed at Donovan for not pushing harder to get an indictment.
Criminal defense attorney Matthew Smalls recently announced he would challenge Donovan for the district attorney job because of how Donovan handled the Garner case. He said Donovan should have convened a grand jury sooner and sought indictments against all the police officers involved, rather than just against Pantaleo.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has to order a special election to fill Grimm's seat, or it will remain vacant until the next election in November. Since it's not a regular election, there will be no Republican or Democratic primaries; the local parties will instead hold conventions to choose their candidates.
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