Eric Garner’s Widow Calls for Civil Rights Probe

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to investigate the death of her husband, which was captured in cellphone video, but Esaw Garner reportedly said that is not enough.

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A protestor shouts outside the funeral service for Eric Garner at Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., on July 23, 2014. 

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

After her husband’s public death last week when he was apparently put in a choke hold by an officer with the New York Police Department, Eric Garner’s widow urged federal prosecutors Friday to open a civil rights investigation, Reuters reports.

While city officials have promised to investigate the death, the widow, Esaw Garner, says a promise is not enough, according to the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader and MSNBC host, who attended a Friday meeting with the family and federal prosecutors, the report says.

“We cannot just depend—and this is important—on police policy to stop the choke hold,” Sharpton told reporters outside the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn when he came out of the office with Garner after about 30 minutes, Reuters writes. “We need a federal precedent.”

The Garner family declined to speak after the meeting. Eric Garner, 43, died last week after he was tackled on a sidewalk in Staten Island and put in a choke hold by an officer, video that was captured by a bystander shows.  

Federal authorities are monitoring the city’s investigation of Garner's death, the report says. The death was a “tragic event,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement Friday, Reuters reports.

“We are closely monitoring the city’s investigation into the incident,” Holder said, according to the news site. It is unknown whether the Justice Department plans to carry out its own investigation.

In video of the incident, Garner says he cannot breathe as police drop him to the ground on a busy sidewalk in front of a beauty parlor after accusing him of peddling illegal cigarettes.

The incident came nearly seven months after de Blasio took office as mayor, pledging to reform the police department. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has said that for more than 20 years, NYPD officers have been officially banned from using the choke hold.

Read more at Reuters.

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