NYPD chokehold decision sparks protests

Angry protesters immediately swarmed the street and warned of Ferguson-like mayhem outside the Staten Island shop where Eric Garner died after news of the grand jury’s decision broke.

“They should react in an uproar. Just like they failed Ferguson, they failed us,” seethed Heather Ewig, 46, who called Garner a friend and “a teddy bear in the community,” as the crowd started to build.

“You gotta be kidding me!” shouted Linder Hampton, 59, who was wearing a T-shirt with Garner’s last words, “This ends today” and “I can’t breathe.”

“It can’t be. They didn’t indict him? Where’s the justice at? All I can do is pray for the people of Staten Island,” she said outside Bay Beauty Supply at 202 Bay St.

One man then began a call and response chant, shouting “Justice for who?” as the crowd shouted back, “Eric Garner!”

Garner’s distraught stepfather, Benjamin Carr, railed at the decision as he paced back and forth on Bay Street.

“It ain’t worth a damn, there are two sets of laws. It’s just a license to kill a black man. Who can control the police department? They can shoot me the f- -k down and nobody can say anything,” he said.

“Imagine if it was your kid? It’s just like getting a knife and stabbing my heart. You might as well choke me,” he said.

As he spoke, a man hurled a garbage can at a nearby television news truck — prompting Carr to call for peace.

“I don’t want it, and Eric wouldn’t want it,” Carr said.

Outside the Staten Island courthouse where the jurors met, furious residents blasted the ruling.

“It’s messed up. He should pay for what he did. He put that man in a chokehold and he was screaming, ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’ It’s right there on the videotape. That’s so messed up, the family is going to be crying more,” said Jose Jimenez, 43.

“When I saw the officer in Ferguson get off, I had a feeling the same would happen here,” said Jimenez, who called himself a friend of the Garner family.

Agitators wasted no time taking to social media to call for street protests after the decision to clear Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the July 17 death. Twitter exploded with hundreds of angry messages.

The NYPD prepped for the protests by deploying hundreds of added cops to likely hot spots such as Union Square, Times Square and Columbus Circle as well as the city’s bridges, tunnels and parks.

Another 500 officers were assembled on Randalls Island as a reserve.

Other groups, meanwhile, called for mass demonstrations in Union Square.

“When the Grand Jury announces its decision, members of the community and all those concerned about justice, are called to go to Union Square North in Manhattan immediately. Justice For Eric Garner! Charge the Killer Cop with Murder!” the group Stop Mass Incarceration said in a statement.

Cellphone video of Garner’s July 17 arrest showed Pantaleo wrestling him to the sidewalk during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes.

The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide.