5th anniversary of Eric Garner’s death comes day after DOJ declines to charge officer

5th anniversary of Garner death Wednesday; no charges for officer

(CNN) – A youth-led rally is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in New York for Eric Garner.

The 43-year-old died in a police-involved incident, which helped to fuel the Black Lives Matter movement.

The anniversary comes one day after a major legal decision on his death was announced.

Garner’s family and friends expressed disappointment with the Department of Justice after federal prosecutors decided Tuesday they wouldn’t bring criminal charges against New York Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

Wednesday, five years after Garner died, was the deadline for federal authorities to decide whether to bring civil rights charges.

“Five years ago, my son said ‘I can’t breathe’ 11 times. And today we can’t breathe, because they have let us down,” Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, said Tuesday.

Pantaleo is accused of placing Garner in a chokehold, which he denies.

"Five years later and there's still no justice," said Emerald Garner, Eric Garner’s daughter.

Garner’s death was ruled a homicide by New York’s medical examiner, who said the incident triggered a fatal asthma attack.

“Even if we could prove that Officer Pantaleo’s hold on Mr. Garner constituted unreasonable force, we would still have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Pantaleo acted willfully in violation of law,” said Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

“Mr. Garner stated, 'I can't breathe.' And I would point out that he made the statement only after he fell to the sidewalk and after Officer Pantaleo released his grip from Mr. Garner's neck."

Pantaleo is facing departmental charges from the NYPD. If he’s found to have put Garner in a chokehold, a move prohibited by the department, he could lose his job.

"Eric died in the hands of a police officer that was more supposed to be protecting us, not killing us," said Ellisha Flagg-Garner, Eric Garner's sister.

Federal investigators had been examining the case after a grand jury in New York declined to indict Pantaleo in 2014. The Garner estate received a $5.9 million settlement from the city of New York in 2015.

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