The decision comes one day before the fifth anniversary of Garner’s death.
After a five-year investigation, the Justice Department decided not to bring civil rights or criminal charges against Pantaleo. According to CNN, federal authorities had a deadline of Wednesday to make a decision on bringing charges against the NYPD officer.
U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Pantaleo acted “willfully” in violation of the federal criminal civil rights act.
“There is nothing in the video to suggest that Officer Pantaleo intended or attempted to place Mr. Garner in a chokehold,” Donoghue said.
Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, spoke out against the decision.
“Five years ago, my son said ‘I can’t breathe’ 11 times, and today we can’t breathe, because they let us down,” she said.
Eric Garner's daughter condemns DOJ decision not to charge officer involved in her father's death five years ago: "Don't apologize to me. Fire the officer!" https://t.co/lGCTpDbndO pic.twitter.com/0rITfG4WXe
— ABC News (@ABC) July 16, 2019
Garner’s daughter, Emerald Garner, also condemned the decision, saying: “Don’t apologize to me. Fire the officer!”
The decision comes one day before the fifth anniversary of Garner’s death. In a cell phone video of the altercation, Pantaleo appeared to have Garner in a chokehold shortly before he died. Pantaleo denied that he used a chokehold, and claimed to have used a legal move called the “seatbelt” on Garner.
However, even a medical examiner testfied that Pantaleo’s alleged chokehold caused an asthma attack and was “part of the lethal cascade of events.”