Jul 16, 2019

Feds drop investigation of NYPD officer involved in Eric Garner's death

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

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NYPD officer suspended for alleged involvement in Eric Garner's death

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Hours after an administrative judge recommended the New York Police Department fire officer Daniel Pantaleo, a white officer accused of choking Eric Garner in 2014, the NYPD decided to suspend Pantaleo, reports AP.

The big picture: This comes just 2 weeks after the Department of Justice decided not to pursue federal charges against Pantaleo.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 2, 2019

4 big takeaways from Night 2 of the second Democratic debates

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The overwhelming strategy may have been “Kill Biden” for the second night of CNN’s Democratic debates, but the former vice president came far more prepared to fend off his critics on Wednesday night than he was in June.

The big picture: Kamala Harris picked up right where she left off at last month's debates, attacking Biden early and often for upholding the status quo with his health care plan — pivoting back to Biden even when asked to respond to comments made by other candidates. But it was clear that Biden did his homework, deflecting attacks with moderate success from Harris, Sens. Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, and others who came armed with opposition research.

Go deeperArrowAug 1, 2019

What we know: The life and death of Jeffrey Epstein

A protest group called "Hot Mess" holds signs of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the Federal courthouse on July 8. Photo: Stephanie Keith / Stringer/Getty Images.

Federal prosecutors charged multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein with sexual abuse and sex trafficking of underage girls in July. On Aug. 10, the 66-year-old was found dead in an apparent suicide at a federal detention center in New York City.

The latest: After alleged victims and their attorneys testified at a hearing on Aug. 27, a federal judge formally closed the criminal sex trafficking case against Epstein Aug. 29. Meanwhile, prosecutors in France opened a preliminary investigation into Epstein, "in connection with possible offenses such as rape, the sexual assault of minors and criminal conspiracy" in late August.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 22, 2019