"How can anyone in the community have faith in the system now?" said Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, in a statement.
"First Ferguson, now Staten Island. The grand jury's failure to indict sends the clear message that black lives don't matter. But they do," Warren continued. "It's bad enough that broken-windows policing over something as harmless as selling untaxed cigarettes led to this tragic killing; it's even worse when the officer responsible - who was caught on tape using a prohibited chokehold, no less - is not held accountable."
Warren said he believes the tensions between the city's black community and police are systematic, and blasted Commissioner Bratton's so-called "broken windows" policy, predicated on the notion that cracking down on relatively minor crimes prevents worse offenses.
"We need real reform of discredited broken-windows policing and of the NYPD more than ever," Warren said.