Officer Daniel Pantaleo will not face federal charges in the death of Eric Garner. The news comes just a day before the fifth anniversary of Garner’s death that sparked a national movement led by the infamous phrase, “I Can’t Breathe.”
The decision came after U.S. Attorney General William Barr ultimately decided not to press any federal charges. Prior, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn recommended no charges, but civil rights prosecutors in Washington disagreed.
Following the announcement, U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said, “Significantly, Officer Pantaleo was not engaged in a chokehold on Mr. Garner when he said he could not breathe, and neither Officer Pantaleo nor any other officer applied a chokehold to Mr. Garner after he first said he could not breathe.”
"You think it's swept under the rug? No! It's not going to be swept under the rug. Because, I'm out here. You all know my face. You're going to see it even more now."
– Eric Garner's mother pic.twitter.com/v9x8YnIM0U
— Reese Waters (@reesewaters) July 17, 2019
He added, “Even if we could prove that Officer Pantaleo’s hold of Mr. Garner constituted unreasonable force, we would still have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Pantaleo acted willfully in violation of the law.”
Garner’s family was less than pleased with the outcome. After years of fighting to hold Officer Pantaleo responsible for the Garner’s death, the statue of limitations of the crime will expire on July 17.
Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said, “This should have been taken care of under the Obama administration. Then we would have had a fairer playing ground.”