The Justice Department has ruled against filing federal civil rights charges against the NYPD officer involved in the passing of Eric Garner. Officer Daniel Pantaleo held Eric in a chokehold, while he plead for his life saying “I can’t breathe”.
According to ABC 7 Chicago, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn will inform Eric’s family of the decision not to charge Officer Pantaleo today–just one day before the five-year anniversary of Eric’s passing.
Eric’s passing, along with other black people who died at the hands of police, has prompted national rally’s and demonstrations about police brutality. His dying words “I can’t breathe” are engraved into the fight for police to be held accountable for their actions.
As we previously reported, in an attempt to arrest Eric for selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island, officer claim Eric refused to be handcuffed. They then slam him to the ground.
The officers continue to hold Eric on the ground, while Officer Pantaleo holds his neck between his forearm and his bicep.
Viral video released from the incident shows Eric on the ground, and he can be heard crying out “I can’t breathe” at least 11 time before falling unconscious. Eric passed away soon after.
Prosecutors are unsatisfied with the decision the Justice Department has made. According to police policy, chokeholds are banned from use. However, Pantaleo says he did not have Eric in a chokehold, but he used a legal takedown maneuver called a “seatbelt”.
Although he is not facing charges, he could reportedly face dismissal from the department. This decision lies in the hands of Police Commissioner James O’Neill, who will not make a decision until there is a verdict rendered.
Officer Pantaleo was previously cleared of criminal conduct in 2014, but a federal investigation into Eric’s death is still open.
We are praying for the family and loved ones of Eric Garner as they receive this devastating news today!