Almost five years to the day that Eric Garner was killed in NYPD custody, the Justice Department has decided not to bring charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo, one of the police officers involved in his death.
According to USA Today, July 17 will mark the five year anniversary of Garner’s death, as well as the DOJ’s last chance to bring civil rights charges before the statute of limitations expires on the case.
However, with the current decision as it is, it seems as if the civil rights investigation has officially come to an end, with no real justice for Garner’s family.
Garner’s death rocked the nation in 2014 after he was targeted for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island. Pantaleo attempted to arrest him, restraining Garner around the head and neck even as the 43-year-old father gasped “I can’t breathe.”
His dying words became a chant repeated throughout the Black Lives Matter movement, and for the nation-wide protests that came following his death.
His cause of death was ruled a homicide by “compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”
Chokeholds have been banned by the New York Police Department; however, Pantaleo’s lawyer, as well as the police union have claimed that the officer never used the illegal restraint on Garner.
New York City ended up paying $5.9 million to settle a civil suit filed by Garner’s family. Pantaleo, through the entire case, has been on administrative duty.
Despite the lack of charges, Pantaleo is still awaiting the verdict of a New York Police Department disciplinary trial.