Holder said, “Prosecutors will conduct an independent, thorough, fair and expeditious investigation. The department will conduct a complete review of the material gathered during the local investigation. We’ve all seen the video of Mr. Garner’s death. His death, of course, was a tragedy. All lives must be valued. All lives,”
Holder continued, “This is not a New York issue or a Ferguson issue alone. Those who have protested peacefully across our great nation following the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson have made that clear.”
The investigation comes after a Staten Island grand jury’s decision on Wednesday to not indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death. The officer tried to arrest Garner on July 17 for selling untaxed cigarettes. He was placed in a chokehold by Pantaleo. Video footage of the incident showed Garner screaming that he “can’t breathe” multiple times before going limp and he ultimately died. The video went viral.
A grand jury returning with “No Indictment” has ignited protest in many cities around the country.
A medical examiner determined the chokehold to be the cause of death and ruled Garner’s death a homicide.