Within hours of a Staten Island grand jury deciding against indicting police officers in the death of Eric Garner, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a Justice Department civil rights investigation into the death.
The quick response may suggest to some that Holder’s DOJ was prepared for this eventuality. Holder’s announcement also came with a request for calm.
The announcement came just hours after a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict officers involved in Garner’s arrest. Garner died July 17 after being placed in a chokehold by Officer David Pantaleo. The incident was caught on tape, and shows that Garner was unarmed and posing no apparent threat to the half-dozen officers who surrounded him.
Tonight, as crowds of protesters gathered in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities, the attorney general sent them a message.
“I urge all those inclined to demonstrate tonight and in the days ahead to remain peaceful in their demonstrations, and not to engage in activities that deflect our attention from the very serious matters our nation must confront.”