Lawmakers called for a Department of Justice investigation into the July death of Eric Garner, following a grand jury’s decision Wednesday not to indict the New York police officer who put the Staten Island father of six into a chokehold that killed him.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer said on Twitter that the DOJ “must launch a federal investigation into Eric Garner’s death as soon as possible.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, also representing New York, called Garner’s death a “tragedy that demands accountability.”
“Nobody unarmed should die on a New York City street corner for suspected low-level offenses,” Gillibrand’s statement reads. “I’m shocked by this grand jury decision, and will be calling on the Department of Justice to investigate.”
Garner’s family and the Rev. Al Sharpton met in August with Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch—who was tapped in November as President Obama’s top pick to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General—to ask that the case be formally investigated by the Federal government.
President Obama quickly commented on the situation before a planned address at the White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington.
“As I said when I met with folks from Ferguson, this is an issue that we’ve been dealing with for too long and it’s time for us to make more progress than we’ve made,” Obama said. “This is American problem, not just a black problem.”