Eric Garner’s Death Will Not Lead to Federal Charges for N.Y.P.D. Officer

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The Justice Department is not going to carry federal fees in opposition to a New York City police officer within the demise of Eric Garner, ending a yearslong inquiry right into a case that sharply divided officers and prompted nationwide protests over extreme drive by the police.

The United States legal professional in Brooklyn, Richard P. Donoghue, introduced the choice not to carry prison civil rights fees on Tuesday morning, someday earlier than the fifth anniversary of Mr. Garner’s demise.

Bystanders filmed the arrest that led to his demise on their cellphones, recording Mr. Garner as he gasped “I can’t breathe,” and his dying phrases turned a rallying cry for protesters throughout the nation. His demise was one among a number of deadly encounters between black folks and the police that catalyzed the nationwide Black Lives Matter motion.

A Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen on the video wrapping his arm round Mr. Garner’s neck, and the federal investigation dragged on for years amid inside disputes within the Justice Department, each below President Obama and President Trump.

In the tip, Attorney General William P. Barr made the decision not to search a civil rights indictment in opposition to Officer Pantaleo on civil rights fees, simply earlier than the five-year deadline for submitting fees expired.

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Donoghue known as Mr. Garner’s demise a tragedy, however mentioned “the evidence does not support charging Police Officer Pantaleo with a federal civil rights violation.” He went over the whole arrest step-by-step and mentioned the federal government couldn’t show Officer Pantaleo willfully used extreme drive to violate Mr. Garner’s rights as required below the legislation.

The determination extinguishes the hopes of the Garner household and their supporters that Officer Pantaleo would possibly face federal prosecution in a case that ignited demonstrations and debates over using drive by law enforcement officials and led to modifications in policing practices throughout the United States.

After assembly with prosecutors, Mr. Garner’s mom, Gwen Carr, denounced the choice, saying she would hold pushing to maintain the officers concerned within the arrest accountable. They additionally known as on town to hearth Officer Pantaleo.

“We might not never know justice in the D.O.J., but I think there will be justice, and we’re going to keep fighting,” Ms. Carr mentioned “We’re not going away, so you can forget that.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who was standing together with her, added: “Five years ago, Eric Garner was choked to death; today the federal government choked Lady Justice, and that is why we are outraged.”

Officer Pantaleo, 34, has been on desk duty without a shield or a gun since Mr. Garner died, a status that has allowed him to accrue pay and pension benefits.

Mr. Donoghue said prosecutors did a rigorous analysis of the video and other evidence, but in the end they did not believe they had sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Pantaleo committed a crime.

To prove criminal conduct, he said, the government had to convince a jury that in the middle of a dynamic arrest Officer Pantaleo willfully made a clear decision in his mind to apply a chokehold, a burden prosecutors did not believe they could meet.

None of the New York officers involved in Mr. Garner’s death have been charged with a crime or disciplined by the Police Department, a fact that has enraged the Garner family and various advocacy groups devoted to holding the police accountable for abuses of power.

Mr. Garner’s family members — including his mother, Gwen Carr — met with federal prosecutors and the Rev. Al Sharpton on Tuesday morning.

The state grand jury declined to bring charges against Officer Pantaleo in December 2014, after the police officer testified in his own defense that he did not put Mr. Garner into a chokehold, a maneuver that is prohibited by the New York Police Department, and that he feared that he would be pushed through a storefront window during the struggle.

But a federal investigation into Mr. Garner’s death proceeded, sharply dividing the Justice Department under four attorneys general and two presidents.

The attorney general at the time of the death, Eric H. Holder Jr., said that evidence strongly suggested that the federal government should bring charges against Officer Pantaleo, even though it is notoriously hard to prosecute police officers for deaths in custody and the government might lose.

While career civil rights prosecutors agreed with Mr. Holder, prosecutors under the United States attorney in Brooklyn, Loretta E. Lynch, sharply disagreed. Because Officer Pantaleo had testified that he intended to put Mr. Garner into a takedown hold that would not restrict his breathing, it was not clear whether the dead man’s civil rights had been violated.

Prosecutors in Brooklyn and in Washington also disagreed about whether a passer-by’s cellphone video supported Officer Pantaleo’s account.

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