Bill Barr sides against DOJ's civil rights division with decision not to prosecute NYPD officer in Eric Garner's death: CNN
Attorney General William Barr (Image via screengrab)

For years, members of Eric Garner's family and criminal justice advocates have worked to hold the NYPD accountable for his death. Garner was stopped by officer Daniel Panteleo for selling loose cigarettes. The encounter quickly escalated when Panteleo put Garner in a chokehold and brought him to the ground, as Garner famously yelled "I can't breathe!" before he died.


On Tuesday, CNN reported that Attorney General William Barr has opted out of pursuing federal civil rights charges against Panteleo. He agreed with a Justice Department team that prosecutors failed to prove the officer acted willfully, according to a senior Justice Department official. The Civil Rights Division in Washington disagreed.

The federal government had until Wednesday to make a decision. Their refusal to pursue federal charges against Panteleo means he's not going to face criminal penalties for Garner's death, which occurred 5 years ago.