NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A grand jury decided Wednesday not to indict the police officer who placed Eric Garner in an apparent chokehold just before he died.
But U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed late Wednesday that the department is opening a probe into Garner’s death.
“I will continue these conversations as we seek to restore trust, to rebuild understanding, and to foster cooperation between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” during the probe, Holder said.
Holder emphasized the rift that has emerged between police and communities.
“We must seek to heal the breakdown in trust we have seen,” he said.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who put Garner in the apparent chokehold, also faces a full department probe from the NYPD. The administrative investigation will look at all the elements of the event, including the actions of all officers present.
Sources said the NYPD probe will specifically try to determine whether Pantaleo used a chokehold, which is not illegal in New York, but is against department policy.
Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died in July after police officers attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.
Jonathon Moore, an attorney for Garner’s family, said he is “astonished by the (grand jury) decision.”
Pantaleo released a statement, saying: “I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can’t protect themselves. It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner. My family and I include him and his family in our prayers and I hope that they will accept my personal condolences for their loss.”