No charges for white cop involved in chokehold death

A white police officer involved in the chokehold death of a black man will not face criminal charges, say US federal prosecutors.

Eric Garner died in July 2014 after crying out "I can't breathe" 11 times before falling unconscious.

Police in New York were trying to arrest him on charges of selling loose, unlicensed cigarettes outside a Staten Island store.

Image: There were protests in the months after Mr Garner's death in 2014

The incident was captured on camera and made headlines around the world, contributing to the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Many people claimed the actions in the video were emblematic of a longstanding problem with police attitudes towards minorities in the US.


Attorney Richard P. Donoghue announced that the officer would bot be prosecuted
Image: Attorney Richard Donoghue announced that the officer would not be prosecuted

New York attorney Richard Donoghue told a news conference that Mr Garner's death was tragic but there was not enough evidence to prove Officer Daniel Pantaleo or any others had wilfully violated his rights.

"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 wilfully in violation of the law," he said.

Mr Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, said she was shattered by the decision.

Appearing with activist Reverend Al Sharpton, she said: "We are here with heavy hearts, because the DOJ has failed us.

"Five years ago, my son said 'I can't breathe' 11 times. Today, we can't breathe."

Mr Garner's mother wiped away tears as she spoke to reporters on Tuesday
Image: Mr Garner's mother wiped away tears as she spoke to reporters on Tuesday

There were competing views on whether to press charges – with US attorney-general William Barr having the final say.

Civil rights prosecutors from the justice department in Washington had recommended charges, but the US attorney's office for New York's eastern district disagreed.

Mr Barr made the ultimate decision after watching the video himself and getting several briefings, according to a justice department official who spoke anonymously to AP.

A police union said the case was an "undeniable tragedy" but that Officer Pantaleo was not to blame.

Protesters were at the disciplinary trial of Daniel Pantaleo last month
Image: Protesters were at the disciplinary trial of OfficRead More – Source