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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Justice Department has ended its investigation of Daniel Pantaleo, the white NYPD officer accused in the 2014 choking death of Eric Garner, who was African American, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The decision ends a "yearslong inquiry into a case that sharply divided officials and prompted national protests," writes the NY Times. It also means Pantaleo will not be prosecuted. A state grand jury declined to indict him 5 years ago.

  • Garner yelled out "I can't breathe" 11 times during the encounter with Pantaleo, which was captured on video. It quickly became the rallying cry of protests around the country, and Garner's death became a "pivotal flash point" for the Black Lives Matter movement, the Washington Post reports.

Details: Attorney General Barr ultimately made the decision to drop the investigation against Pantaleo, even though civil rights prosecutors pushed for it, reports AP.

  • The Justice Department dropped the investigation because the evidence wasn't sufficient to prove Pantaleo's intent to harm Garner or violate the law, says AP.

What's next: The NYPD held a disciplinary hearing in June regarding the case. However, Commissioner James O’Neill will ultimately decide whether Pantaleo will be fired or face a lesser punishment, says NYT.

Context: Pantaleo was accused of putting a chokehold on Garner after stopping him on a Staten Island street for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, per the New York Times. Pantaleo has been on desk duty since the incident.

Go deeper: Report: Rod Rosenstein “unlikely” to charge cop in Eric Garner case

Go deeper

9 mins ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.