The Justice Department will conduct an inquiry into the death of Eric Garner after a grand jury in New York City declined to indict a police officer in the case, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Wednesday.
The probe will look for potential civil rights violations in the July 17 death of Garner, 43, who was confronted by officers on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.
A video shot by an onlooker showed Garner telling officers to leave him alone as they tried to arrest him; one responded by wrapping his arm around Garner's neck.
Calling the death a tragedy, Holder said it was one of "several recent incidents that have tested the sense of trust that must exist between law enforcement and the communities they are charged to serve and protect." The death occurred weeks before the deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., a case also under investigation by the department.
The cases together have contributed to a national discussion about police treatment of minorities.