After years of disappointments in the quest for justice for Eric Garner, the unarmed Black man who died after being placed in an illegal chokehold by the NYPD in 2104, the U.S. Justice Department just took a step in the right direction by replacing the entire team investigating the case.
According to a report from The New York Times, the move is “highly unusual,” but could increase the likelihood that justice may actually be possible in the case, which prompted protests across the country.
From the Times:
Federal authorities have been investigating whether officers violated Mr. Garner’s civil rights in his fatal encounter with the police. But the case had been slowed by a dispute because federal prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in New York opposed bringing charges, while prosecutors with the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department in Washington argued there was clear evidence to do so.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, who as the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York oversaw the beginning of the federal inquiry before her appointment to Washington, has been considering for months how to proceed.
The sources spoke with the Times on condition of anonymity.
The officer seen putting Garner in the chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, was simply placed on desk duty, where he remains.
While this news is definitely promising, there is a long road ahead for this investigation. Hopefully it will be resolved in a manner that gives his family and friends final closure and peace.