A judge on Thursday ruled against releasing evidence presented to a grand jury that failed to indict a New York City officer who administered the deadly chokehold on Eric Garner, reports The New York Times.

Justice William E. Garnett of the State Supreme Court on Staten Island decided against the request for public disclosure sought by the New York Civil Liberties Union; the city’s public advocate, Letitia James; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and The New York Post, writes The Times.

Garnett’s ruling bolstered the argument of Staten Island district attorney Daniel M. Donovan Jr., who said releasing historically secret evidence would have a “chilling effect” on witnesses, the news outlet notes.

Via The New York Times:

In a decision, Justice Garnett said the parties seeking disclosure had failed to establish a “compelling” need to make the grand jury minutes public.

The parties “merely ask for disclosure for distribution to the public,” Justice Garnett wrote in his conclusion.

“This request is not a legally cognizable reason for disclosure,” he continued. “What would they use the minutes for? The only answer which the court heard was the possibility of effecting legislative change. That proffered need is purely speculative and does not satisfy the requirements of the law.”

The decision is expected to be appealed, according to The Times, quoting a lawyer for the Garner family, who called the ruling “unfortunate.”

Garner’s death over the summer ignited protests across the nation against police brutality in communities of color. Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed Garner, who was unarmed, in a deadly chokehold as he and other cops tried to take him into custody on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

SOURCE: The New York Times

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