The Slatest

Justice Department to Launch Civil Rights Investigation Into Eric Garner Choking Death

A memorial for police violence victim Eric Garner.

Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Just hours after a Staten Island grand jury chose not to charge New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo for choking Eric Garner to death, the Justice Department will open a criminal civil rights investigation into the case, according to DOJ officials. “Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan said the grand jury found ‘no reasonable cause’ to bring charges,” the Associated Press reports. “The grand jury could have considered a range of charges, from reckless endangerment to murder.”

President Obama addressed the grand jury decision on Wednesday, saying: “When anybody in America is not being treated equally under the law, that’s a problem, and it’s my job to solve it.” “[A] Justice Department official told CBS that the investigation into Garner’s death is the same sort of investigation opened into the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri,” CBS News reports. “It is also the same kind of investigation opened into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, which remains ‘ongoing’ nearly three years later.”

Attorney General Eric Holder officially announced the civil rights probe on Wednesday evening.

*This post has been updated.