Feds to Investigate NYPD Chokehold Death Justice Department will launch inquiry as grand jury opts not to indict officer By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Dec 3, 2014 5:21 PM CST 98 comments Comments Benjamin Carr, stepfather of Eric Garner, talks on the phone and to reporters after the grand jury's decision. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Newser) – The Justice Department will investigate the chokehold death of an unarmed black man after a grand jury in New York City declined to indict the white police officer who applied the move. A department official said federal authorities will investigate the July death of Eric Garner, who was confronted by officers including Daniel Pantaleo on suspicion of selling unlicensed cigarettes. The federal investigation will look for potential federal civil rights violations in Garner's death. It will be similar to a separate federal investigation already underway into the Aug. 9 shooting death in Ferguson, Missouri, of Michael Brown.