Attorney General Eric Holder
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On Wednesday, shortly after demonstrators had started to converge on New York City’s Times Square to protest the grand jury decision not to charge a New York police officer in the choke hold death of Eric Garner, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department will open a criminal civil rights investigation.

According to CBS News, Holder promised "an independent, thorough, fair and expeditious" investigation and noted that he had spoken with President Obama, Garner's widow and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, informing them of the Department of Justice's next steps. 

"All lives must be valued—all lives," Holder said.

Garner's death grabbed national attention as video of the July 17 incident was recorded and shared on social media. Several officers approached Garner, a father of six, for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the only officer who faced possible indictment, is shown on video putting his arm around Garner's neck. Garner can be heard saying repeatedly, "I can't breathe!"

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"When anybody in America is not being treated equally under the law, that's a problem, and it's my job to solve it," President Obama said regarding the grand jury decision at an event Wednesday afternoon, according to CBS News. He added that he has "initiated a task force to produce recommendations for improving relations between police and minority communities," CBS reports.

Read more at CBS News.