Fury of Eric Garner's family after Attorney General William Barr decides New York City cop will NOT face federal civil rights charges in the unarmed black man's 2014 chokehold death

Federal prosecutors announced this morning they will not pursue civil rights charges against a New York City police officer in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner, sparking fury among his family members and activists. 
The decision not to bring charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo comes a day before the statute of limitations was set to expire, on the fifth anniversary of the encounter that led to Garner's death.  
Richard Donoghue, US attorney for eastern New York, said at a press conference Tuesday morning that an exhaustive investigation has found there is 'insufficient evidence' to prove 'beyond a reasonable doubt' that Pantaleo acted 'willfully' when applying a chokehold.
A senior Justice Department official said Attorney General William Barr ultimately decided not to side with prosecutors in the Justice Department's civil rights division who wanted to charge Pantaleo.
The official says Barr had been briefed multiple times and watched the video himself several times.   
Donoghue said: 'The evidence here does not support charging Pantaleo or any other officer with a federal criminal civil rights violation,' he said, adding that the government's investigation into Garner's death 'has been closed.'
Prosecutors told Garner's family about the decision earlier in the morning. 

Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, and his daughter, Emerald Snipes, condemned the Justice Department's decision not to charge the officer during a new conference held on the steps of the US Attorney's Office in Brooklyn. 
'We are here with heavy hearts because the DOJ has failed us,' Carr said. 'We may never know justice in the DOJ but I think there will be justice, and we're going to keep fighting. We're not going away, so you can forget that. 
'You think it could be swept under the rug? No, it's not gonna be swept under the rug.'
'I stood quietly by for five years,' Carr added. 'I am not being being quiet anymore.'
Her daughter, Emerald, exploded in rage when given a chance to address the DOJ's decision. 
'I am very angry,' she began by saying. 'I stand here in the spirit of my sister who fought for justice until her dying day, for my father.

'We called the Department of Justice - they didn't do their job, so, no, I'm going to stand outside and I'm going to scream: Pantaleo needs to be fired! He needs to be fired! There is no waiting, there is no nothing. 
'Five years later, and there's still no justice, so, no, there won't be no calm. No, there won't be no peace. No justice, no peace.'
Snipes went on saying: 'don't apologize to me, fire the officer. Don't give me your condolences: I heard that five years ago. We want justice and we want it today.'  
She also addressed Mayor Bill de Blasio directly, demanding that he terminate the officer. 
'Don't apologize to me,' she said. 'Fire the officer.' 

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who joined Garner's family at the emotional press conference, decried the decision to close the case without bringing federal charges against the cop as 'a moral disgrace' and 'judicial malpractice.' 
The civil rights activist said the move shows that people's federal civil rights are not protected 'no matter what the evidence is.'  
De Blasio, a Democrat and a presidential candidate, says it was a 'mistake' for New York City to wait years for federal prosecutors to investigate Garner's death before beginning disciplinary proceedings against Pantaleo.
However, the mayor did not say whether the city intends to eject him from the police department.
A spokesperson for de Blasio says the police commissioner is expected to decide Pantaleo's fate by August 31. 
Snipes, Garner's adult daughter, later address the press a second time outside the US Attorney's Office, unleashing a furious, expletive-ridden tirade in which she forcefully reiterated that Pantaleo must be fired.
'If you're not standing with firing Pantaleo then you're standing for nothing!' she screamed. 'You want us to be clam? you want to send condolences? F*** your condolences.
'My father is gone and nobody gives a f***.'   
Patrick Lynch, head of New York City's largest police union, the Police Benevolent Association, issued a statement Tuesday saying Pantaleo was just doing his job 'in the manner he was taught.' 
He says turning a 'good and honorable officer' into a scapegoat will not 'heal the wounds' the case has caused for the 'entire city.'
The union head adds that if the NYPD's disciplinary case is decided fairly and 'free of improper political influence,' Pantaleo will be fully exonerated.
Officers were attempting to arrest Garner, a married father of six, on charges he sold loose, untaxed cigarettes outside a Staten Island convenience store. He refused to be handcuffed, and officers took him down. 
Garner is heard on bystander cellphone video crying out 'I can't breathe' at least 11 times before he falls unconscious. He later died. Garner was black and unarmed; Pantaleo is white. 
Garner's death, along with the deaths of other black men and teenage boys at the hands of police, became a rally cry for police reform activists.
A state grand jury in December 2014 also refused to indict the officer on criminal charges. 

US Attorney Donoghue said during Tuesday's press conference that the video capturing Garner's arrest does not establish 'beyond reasonable doubt' that Pantaleo acted willfully in violation of federal law. 
He also pointed to the disparity in size between the 6-foot-2, nearly 400-pound Garner and the considerably smaller officer, saying that it contributed to Pantaleo's inability to quickly arrest the man. 
Donoghue stressed that Pantaelo was 'not engaged in a chokehold' on Garner when he said he could not breathe, and that he uttered the words 'I can't breathe' only after the officer released his grip as the two of them fell to the sidewalk.  
Chokeholds are banned under police policy. Pantaleo maintained he used a legal takedown maneuver called the 'seatbelt' that slipped during the struggle. 
The medical examiner's office said a chokehold contributed to Garner's death, which was ruled a homicide induced by 'compression of neck, compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.'
The New York Police Department brought the 34-year-old Pantaleo up on departmental charges in May, after keeping the case on hold for nearly five years. Federal prosecutors were observing the proceedings. 
An administrative judge who presided over Pantaleo's internal disciplinary trial in the spring has yet to submit her findings to the police commissioner, who has the final say on punishment, which could range from loss of vacation days to termination. 
In the years since the Garner death, Pantaleo has remained on desk duty, and activists have decried his paycheck that included union-negotiated raises.
Pantaleo's lawyer, Stuart London, said he'd prefer to remain on the force. 'It's in his blood. He'd love to continue,' London said. 
The department trial, spread over several weeks in May and June, included never-before-heard testimony from other officers involved in Garner's arrest and a medical examiner, who ruled that the chokehold set into motion 'a lethal sequence of events.'
Cell phone video shot by Garner's friend, Ramsey Orta, showed Pantaleo taking Garner to the ground after he and another officer confronted him over suspicions he was selling loose cigarettes. 
Before Pantaleo grabbed him, Garner is seen on video arguing with the officers, protesting what he considered constant harassment.
Pantaleo's union, the Police Benevolent Association, has blamed Garner's poor health and resisting arrest for his death.
Garner weighed 395lbs at the time of death and suffered from asthma, diabetes and had a heart nearly double the size of a person in good health, a medical examiner said.  
The Garner probe has now outlasted the tenures of three attorneys general under two presidents.
'It's shocking that it's taken this long for the department to come to a prosecutorial decision,' said Jonathan Smith, who led the special litigation section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division from 2010 to 2015 but was not involved in the Garner case.   
A few dozen activists, angry that the investigation hasn't been resolved, traveled by bus Monday from New York to Washington to protest outside Justice Department headquarters. Another rally is planned for Tuesday on the steps of New York's City Hall.
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