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The NYPD Officer Accused of Choking Eric Garner Will Not Be Charged With Civil Rights Violations

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Gwen Carr, mother of the late Eric Garner, speaks to the press outside the U.S. attorney’s office following a meeting with federal prosecutors on July 16th, 2019, in Brooklyn. The U.S. Department of Justice announced it will not bring federal charges against NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner.

The United States Department of Justice will not issue civil rights charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the New York Police Department officer accused of fatally choking Eric Garner, saying the evidence did not support such charges.

The decision was made on Tuesday, one day before the fifth anniversary of Garner’s death and the deadline for the federal government to file charges against the officer. 

On July 17th, 2014, Pantaleo and other officers were sent by a superior to arrest Garner for selling untaxed cigarettes, and when he resisted, Pantaleo wrapped an arm around Garner’s neck and brought him to the ground, compressing his chest into the ground with the weight of other officers on top of him. Garner died of cardiac arrest soon after arriving at the hospital.

Bystanders, including Garner’s friend Ramsey Orta (who is now in prison), captured the event on video. The clip—in which Garner says “I can’t breathe” as Pantaleo appears to have him in a chokehold (a maneuver prohibited by the NYPD)—went viral, and Garner’s last words became a rallying cry for the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement. 

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