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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

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Florida Pride parade fatal crash a "tragic accident," police say

Participants walk away as police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Police said Sunday they believe a driver unintentionally hit spectators at a weekend Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, resulting in the death of one man and leaving another person hospitalized.

The latest: Addressing speculation that the crash may have been a hate crime against the LGBTQ community, Wilton Manors police chief Gary Blocker said in a statement: "Today we know yesterday's incident was a tragic accident, and not a criminal act directed at anyone, or any group of individuals."