The Justice Department decided Tuesday it will not level charges against the New York City police officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner whose last words—“I can’t breathe”—became a rallying call for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Police confronted 43-year-old Garner—a black man—in July 2014 when he was alleged to have sold cigarettes individually—a crime in the New York City area. Garner died while officers attempted to place him under arrest in what became a viral video, throttling anti-cop sentiment in the country, USA Today reported.
Daniel Pantaleo is the officer credited with an alleged chokehold that may have possibly led to Garner’s death. A Staten Island grand jury acquitted him in December 2014, The Associated Press reported.
Obama-era U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder did not support the ruling and commenced a civil rights investigation on the same day of the jury verdict. The investigation did not yield a conviction in its five-year span.
Protests and rallies headed by Black Lives Matter and other groups protested a perceived injustice after Garner passed, spouting anti-cop rhetoric.
Two New York City Police Department officers were gunned down in their patrol car in December 2014—the gunman echoing sentiments of revenge for Garner’s death.
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