Federal prosecutors say they won’t bring federal charges against New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo for using a chokehold in the 2014 death of Eric Garner.
The decision by prosecutors to decline charges against Pantaleo comes one day before the stature of limitations was set to expire, five years after the encounter that led to Garner’s death.
United States attorney Richard P. Donoghue announced the decision to not bring criminal civil rights charges against Pantaleo on Tuesday morning, according to CBS News.
Donoghue, who went over the arrest step by step, called Garner’s death a tragedy, but said “the evidence does not support charging police officer Pantaleo with a federal civil rights violation” and said the government could not prove Pantaleo used excessive force to arrest Garner.
Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, denounced the decision, saying she would continue to pursue holding the officer involved in her son’s death accountable.
“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,” Carr said.
“We’re not going away, so you can forget that.”
In June, the NYPD conducted a disciplinary trial to determine whether or not Pantaleo should be fired or punished for using a chokehold maneuver that was banned by the department more than two decades ago.
During the trial, the officer in charge of training new officers testified that Pantaleo had specifically been instructed not to use the chokehold.
Garner, 43, died on July 17, 2014 after Pantaleo wrapped an arm around his neck as he took him to the ground after several officers had been order to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes.
A medical examiner testified the pressure on Garner’s neck and chest caused a fatal asthma attack, which may have been prevented if officers had actually listened to what he was saying.
“I can’t breathe; I can’t breathe,” Garner plead before his death.
Even though he spoke clearly and loudly enough, Garner pleaded for his life — to no avail.