On the eve of the five-year anniversary of the death of Eric Garner, the NYPD officer who applied the fatal chokehold will not face federal charges. Daniel Pantaleo will avoid the charges on the world of Attorney General William Barr.
NBC News reports:
The Justice Department on Tuesday concluded its five-year investigation and will not bring civil rights or criminal charges against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen in the video with his arm around Garner’s neck.
According to a senior Justice Department official, Attorney General William Barr made the final decision not to charge Pantaleo, choosing to follow the recommendations of Brooklyn prosecutors.
However, attorneys in the Civil Rights Division thought charges could have been filed, according to two DOJ officials.
The decision not to pursue charges comes one day before the fifth anniversary of Garner’s death, which was also the deadline for charges to be filed.
Garner, 43, who was asthmatic, was being arrested for allegedly selling untaxed, loose cigarettes. His death on July 17, 2014, sparked national outrage and protests. The phrase “I can’t breathe” — which he said 11 times during his arrest — became a rallying cry for police reform.
Pantaleo is still the focus of a disciplinary investigation by the department and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill has the final say on if the officer keeps his job.