Hundreds Rally to Mark Anniversary of Garner Death

Several hundred people rallied outside the federal courthouse in Brooklyn Saturday to demand justice in the death of Eric Garner -- the Staten Island man whose death in police custody sparked protests nationwide.

It was the second day of protests to mark the anniversary of Garner's death on July 17, 2014. Activists at the courthouse called on federal prosecutors to indict the police officer who put Garner in a fatal chokehold.

About two dozen protesters were arrested Friday during several demonstrations, New York City police officials said.

Hundreds of people rallied near Columbus Circle Friday evening. Several people were arrested outside Central Park as protesters chanted, "Shame! Shame! Shame!" News 4 New York video of one arrest shows a man being handcuffed and taken away by police as protesters surround them.

"The one's responsible for Eric Garner's death are free, walking the streets, and there was the non-indictment," one protester said. "That is wrong."

Friday's demonstrations began with Garner's youngest daughter, Legacy Miller, and her mother, Jewel Miller, releasing doves in front of the Tompkinsville store where Garner had his fatal confrontation with officer Daniel Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Video of the altercation showed the heavyset Garner shouting "I can't breathe!" repeatedly after being brought to the ground in front of the store. He lost consciousness and was pronounced dead a short time later.

One group rode the Staten Island Ferry to mark the anniversary, while another announced plans to block off traffic in Columbus Circle -- a common practice across the city during the intense protests in the days following a grand jury's decision in December not to charge Pantaleo with a crime in Garner's death. Pantaleo had no comment Friday.

The anniversary comes days after New York City settled a civil suit filed by Garner's family for nearly $6 million. Garner's family said that the civil agreement wasn't a victory and they will continue pressing for federal civil rights charges.

The U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn are investigating whether there is evidence to warrant charges that the officer deliberately violated Garner's civil rights. Such cases are rare after grand jury inaction or acquittal at state level.

Pantaleo, meanwhile, has not been on active duty in the year since Garner's death and remains under an internal affairs review. The NYPD is refraining from making any decisions on Pantaleo's future with the department until after the federal probe has been completed.

Pantaleo's attorney declined to comment on the anniversary.

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