New York, Dec 04: Following widespread protests in New York, United States Attorney General Eric Holder has said that the Justice Department will launch a civil rights investigation into the death of Eric Garner, the unarmed another black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by a white New York police officer last summer.
Holder said that the department will conduct an "independent, thorough, fair and expeditious" probe that would review all aspects of the case. He added that many have seen the video of the incident and "all lives must be valued." We must seek to heal the mistrust that we have seen, he said, reported ABC News.
The announcement came just hours after the grand jury announced its decision to not indict officers involved in Garner's arrest.
Garner died on July 17 after being placed in a chokehold by Officer David Pantaleo. The incident was caught on tape and showed that the black teenager was unarmed and posed no threat to the half-dozen officers around him. He was heard on tape saying, "I can not breathe."
The grand jury's decision followed a similar verdict given by a grand jury in Missouri in the Michael Brown case in which the unarmed, black teenager was shot by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson.
The Attorney General pointed that these incidents have put to test the trust that must exist between law officers and the communities that they are charged to serve and protect. Urging protesters to remain peaceful in their demonstrations, he said that those who have held peaceful protests across the nation have shown that the issue is not a New York issue or a Ferguson issue alone.
The grand jury’s decision outraged many New York elected officials, and city leaders called for calm as protesters marched through Manhattan, denouncing the death of Eric Garner, 43 years old, who died after being held in an apparent police chokehold on July 17 in the borough of Staten Island.
The decision also elicited a quick reaction from President Barack Obama, who said Mr. Garner's death "speaks to the larger issues" of trust between police and civilians. He renewed a vow to repair police-community relations.
Angry protesters occupied several parts of the city chanting "no justice, no tree!" to protest against the grand jury's decision. A crowd of about 50 demonstrators staged a "die in" next to the information booth at Grand Central as cops surrounded them but took no action.
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