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New York Reps Urge DOJ to Probe Eric Garner Death

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TWC News: New York Reps Urge DOJ to Probe Eric Garner Death
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Almost a month after the death of Eric Garner, a half dozen members of Congress say the pace of the investigation is too slow and they want the federal government to step in. Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Some members of Congress now want the Eric Garner case to go to Washington.

"In order to have a fair and impartial investigation that could potentially lead to justice the federal government has got to get involved,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who represents parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

Almost a month ago, Garner died after he was held in this chokehold by the NYPD. He was under arrest for allegedly selling illegal cigarettes, part of a crackdown on lower-level crimes by the NYPD's so-called "broken windows" approach.

The Staten Island District Attorney's office is heading up the investigation. But a half dozen members of New York's congressional delegation want the U.S. Attorney General to step in.

"We've heard nothing from the Staten Island District Attorney. We waited a substantial period of time,” said Jeffries.

When we asked the Staten Island District Attorney's office for a response, a spokesman only said its investigation is continuing.

These members of Congress went a step further, drawing parallels to the killing of Michael Brown in Missouri, where violent protests have caught the nation's attention.

These New York representatives argue law enforcement targeting black men is nothing new.

"It is a problem that we have been struggling with for a long period of time. Hopefully both the case in Missouri and the case in New York City will allow us to have a moment in time where we can meaningfully tackle this issue and develop a better relationship between our police and our communities,” said Jeffries.

So they are calling for the Justice Department to look beyond the Garner case and at the entire “broken windows” policing practice, saying it could violate the civil rights of black and Latino New Yorkers.

"The 'broken windows' approach, which is just a cousin to stop and frisk,” said Rep. Yvette Clarke of Brooklyn.

In response, the U.S. Attorney General's office said it was reviewing the issue.

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