Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, on Tuesday accused the Department of Justice of covering up the investigation into her son’s 2014 death at the hands of a New York City police officer.
At a press conference, moments after the Justice Department announced it would not indict the officer for her son’s death, Ms. Carr vowed to keep pushing the case into the media spotlight.
“You think it’s swept under the rug? No! It’s not going to be swept under the rug. Because I’m out here. You all know my face. You’re going to see it even more now,” she told reporters.
The Justice Department said earlier it would not bring federal or criminal civil charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who placed Garner in a headlock while trying to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes. Garner repeatedly told the officer he couldn’t breathe.
Officer Pantaleo has repeatedly denied the move was a chokehold, which is expressly forbidden by the NYPD. A medical examiner determined Garner’s death was an asthma attack stemming from the chokehold.
The officer has since been reassigned to desk duty while awaiting the results of separate disciplinary hearings. Police Commissioner James O’Neill will ultimately determine whether Officer Pantaleo is fired or punished.
Ms. Carr called on Mr. O’Neill to remove the officer from the office.
“We are asking the commissioner to make the right decision,” she said. “That officer, Officer Pantaleo, and all the officers who [were] involved in my son’s death that day need to be off the force.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor and a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, blasted the Justice Department’s decision as a “miscarriage of justice.”
“Our criminal justice system should be rooted in accountability,” Ms. Harris, who pushed for police reform while serving as California attorney general, tweeted Tuesday. “My heart breaks for the Garner family.”
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at email@example.com.
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