The Justice Department has revealed they will not bring federal charges against a New York City police officer over the chokehold death of Eric Garner. Garner’s death five years ago sparked nationwide protests and Garner’s last words, “I Can’t Breathe” as a rallying cry for justice.
The decision marks the end of a civil rights probe that highlighted how police officers interact with minorities by use of excessive force. Garner was 43 when he was accused of selling single “loosie” cigarettes outside a store in Staten Island when officer Daniel Pantaleo attempted to arrest him. When he was knocked to the ground and had Pantaleo’s hands around his hand and neck, Garner gasped, “I can’t breathe.”
Garner died soon after.
The city paid a $5.9 million civil settlement to Garner’s family.