Eric Garner case gets new Justice Department investigation team

The DOJ Civil Rights Division wanted to charge the officer, but federal prosecutors and the FBI were against it


By Alison Fox
amNewYork

NEW YORK  A new team at the Justice Department has been assigned to the investigation into Eric Garner's death while in police custody in Staten Island, according to a report.

The new team of agents could potentially jump-start the case that has been stalled up until now, officials told The New York Times.

In this July 18, 2015 file photo, a demonstrator holds a sign calling for justice during a rally in New York were several hundred people rallied outside the federal courthouse in Brooklyn to demand action in the fatal chokehold death of Eric Garner by a white police officer. (AP File Photo/Mary Altaffer)
In this July 18, 2015 file photo, a demonstrator holds a sign calling for justice during a rally in New York were several hundred people rallied outside the federal courthouse in Brooklyn to demand action in the fatal chokehold death of Eric Garner by a white police officer. (AP File Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Garner died on July 17, 2014, when police tried to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes on a street corner in Staten Island. In the process, Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed Garner in an apparent chokehold, which is against the NYPD's policy.

Garner's cries of "I can't breathe" sparked a nationwide discussion on police force and tactics and became a rallying cry for protesters.

Pantaleo, who remains on modified duty, was not indicted in Staten Island but still faces possible federal civil rights charges. He has yet to face a departmental review.

Federal prosecutors had started presenting evidence to a grand jury but the investigation stalled as officials were at odds on whether or not to bring charges, according to the Times.

Federal prosecutors and FBI officials were against charging Pantaleo, while the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department argued the opposite, according to the paper.

Recently, the FBI agents who have been investigating the case were replaced with agents from outside New York, and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are no longer assigned to the case, according to the paper.
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(c)2016 amNewYork

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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