A protester wears an 'I can't breathe' T-shirt during a 'Justice For All' march on December 13, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Daniel Donovan, the Staten Island district attorney who failed to win an indictment of the police officer who allegedly killed Eric Garner in a chokehold, is considering a run for Congress. UPI/Gabriella Demczuk | License Photo
NEW YORK, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The district attorney who investigated Eric Garner's chokehold death may run for the New York congressional seat being vacated by Michael Grimm.
Daniel Donovan said Tuesday he is "seriously considering" seeking the Republican nomination. Grimm, R-N.Y., who pleaded guilty to tax fraud last week, announced late Monday he is stepping down.
As district attorney of Staten Island, Donovan failed to win an indictment of the police officer blamed for Garner's death last summer.
"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," Donovan said in a statement, adding that he needs to give the decision the care it deserves.
Garner, who was unarmed, was killed as police attempted to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes. Video of the chokehold went viral and his words "I can't breathe" now appear on T-shirts worn by protesters.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said a Donovan nomination would lead to more protests and add to the tension in New York's black community.
"How are we gonna send someone to Washington whose only national reputation is the guy who couldn't get a grand jury to indict on a video the whole world saw?" Sharpton told the New York Daily News.
But the nomination appears to be Donovan's if he wants it.
"Almost all the elected officials in Staten Island will be by his side," said Guy Molinari, a former congressman and Staten Island borough president.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will decide when to hold a special election. President Barack Obama carried the district, which includes parts of Brooklyn, in 2012. But Democrats believe they have a better chance of winning the seat in 2016 than in an election in which the turnout is likely to be relatively low.
A political consultant predicted Donovan will win if he runs. While his handling of the Garner investigation might make him controversial elsewhere in New York City, Staten Island is home to many in law enforcement and the city's most Republican borough.
"Donovan is going to be hard to beat. His profile matches the district. This is a very pro-police district," Hank Sheinkopf told the New York Post.