Justice Department will not charge police in death of Eric Garner


Members of Black Lives Matter Greater NY and allies held a protest rally in Times Square on June 4, 2019 demanding justice for Eric Garner as Daniel Pantaleos trial resume.

Erik McGregor | LightRocket | Getty Images

The Department of Justice will not pursue charges against an officer involved in the killing of Eric Garner in 2014, NBC News confirmed Tuesday.

The decision comes almost exactly five years after Garner died on Staten Island, New York, after New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo allegedly put him in a chokehold, a maneuver which is barred by police rules. Garner’s death led to protests around the world and is one of the police-involved killings commonly cited by the Black Lives Matter movement.

During his arrest, Garner repeatedly told Pantaleo that “I can’t breathe,” a statement that later became a rallying cry for activists after video of the arrest circulated.

A state grand jury cleared Pantaleo in 2014, though he could still face internal penalties. At a disciplinary hearing held last month in Manhattan, the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board argued that Pantaleo should be fired. Pantaleo’s attorney said that Pantaleo had done nothing wrong, and disputed that the technique Pantaleo employed was a chokehold.

The New York Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment from CNBC. Its decision not to pursue charges was earlier reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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