WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the National Action Network on Monday called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to present an indictment against New York City Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the 2014 death of Eric Garner. The renewed call for action comes in light of the recent and tragic death of Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner and prominent civil rights activist who opposed police brutality.
The 2014 death of Eric Garner, an unarmed African-American man who was placed in a chokehold by Officer Pantaleo and could be heard on video repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe,” sparked a nationwide movement for police accountability and criminal justice reform. An autopsy by New York City’s medical examiner ruled Eric Garner’s death a homicide, yet the federal investigation into his death remains stalled, delaying justice to the Garner family.
In their letter sent to Attorney General Sessions Monday, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and National Action Network call on DOJ to conclude its pending criminal investigation and present charges to Officer Pantaleo without further delay.
“Erica Garner’s heart was broken over three years ago when the justice system failed to provide her any kind of justice for her father,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder of National Action Network. “After her father’s death, Erica committed her life to her father’s memory and we find it unacceptable that she was not able to see justice in her short lifetime. We must continue to fight to end police brutality and we will not rest until we do so.”
“As Erica Garner is laid to rest, the exacting toll that police violence has on families and communities can no longer be ignored. The federal investigation into the death of Eric Garner was launched over three years ago and, to date, no officer has been held accountable,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Justice was denied to the late Erica Garner and can no longer be delayed for the Garner family. The Department of Justice must conclude its investigation and immediately present charges against Officer Pantaleo to a grand jury.”
The letter is available online here.