“I can’t breathe,” was Eric Garner’s last words. 

Prosecutors have announced there will be no federal charges against the NYPD officer who held Eric Garner in a chokehold during an altercation that had happened in 2014. 

In July 2014 Garner was outside of a beauty supply store in Staten Island reselling untaxed cigarettes. Garner was then restrained because he was resisting arrest. Pantaleo put him into a chokehold while Garner repeatedly said, ‘I can’t breathe,’ 11 times. The incident was caught on camera by a bystander. 

According to the Associated Press, on Sept. 19, 2014 a forensic pathologist Dr.Michael Baden was hired by the Garner family and concluded that the chokehold was the cause of death.

The U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue made comments Tuesday about the decision made in Garner’s case. 

“The evidence here does not support charging police officer Daniel Pantaleo or any other officer with a federal criminal civil rights violation. Admittedly many will disagree with this decision and that is their right,” Donoghue said. 

Donoghue then goes into brief detail about the elements that make a civil rights violation.

“In order for a federal criminal civil rights charge to be brought the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt four elements: first that the officer acted under the color of law, second that the officer objectively unreasonable force under the circumstances, third that the officer violated the law willfully, fourth that the wrongful conduct caused bodily injury to the victim,” Donoghue said. 

According to Donoghue, during their investigation, they primarily focused on two elements. First, whether the force used was unreasonable and if the officer acted willfully in violation under the law. 

Garner’s daughter, Emerald Garner spoke shared her reaction to the Justice Department’s decision to the media Tuesday. 

“I am very angry, I stand here in the spirit of my sister, she fought for justice until her dying day for my father, standing outside protesting. She called the CCRB to do this investigation and they didn’t do their job. Called the Department of Justice and they didn’t do their job. So no I am going to stand outside and I am going to scream it, Pantaleo needs to be fire!” Garner said

According to the Associated Press, “The decision to end a years long civil rights investigation was made by Attorney General William Barr and was announced the day before the five-year anniversary of the deadly encounter, just as the statute of limitations was set to expire.” 

“No family should have to wait five years for answers they deserve. Years ago we put our faith in the federal government to act. We are a different city and must act like a different city. My statement on today’s Justice Dept. decision regarding Eric Garner’s death,” New York Mayor and Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio tweeted. 

Blasio included a statement to the Department of Justice decision regarding the case. 

Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, talked Tuesday about the judge’s decision. 

“We are here with heavy hearts because the DOJ has failed us. Although we look for better from them. Five years ago my son said ‘I can’t breathe,’ 11 times and today we can’t breathe because they have let us down,” Carr said

The NYPD has not yet made a decision to fire Pantaleo. According to the Associated Press, Commissioner James O’Neill will be making the final decision on Pantaleo’s punishment, once he receives the report from the departmental hearing.

Written ByMaydeen Merino

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