Protests Erupt After Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision

Protesters shout in Times Square after it was announced that the New York City police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner is not being indicted, Dec. 3, 2014.PlayAP
WATCH First Look at the Protests in Staten Island After the Eric Garner Decision

Protests erupted across the country, with 83 people arrested in New York City overnight after a grand jury Wednesday declined to indict officers involved in the death of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a choke hold.

Large groups shouted and carried signs through Times Square.

Protesters temporarily blocked traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel and on the Brooklyn Bridge, and activists staged a “die-in” at the Grand Central Terminal.

PHOTO: Activists demanding justice for the death of Eric Garner stage a die-in during rush hour at Grand Central Terminal in the Manhattan borough of New York on Dec. 3, 2014.Adrees Latif/Reuters
Activists demanding justice for the death of Eric Garner stage a 'die-in' during rush hour at Grand Central Terminal in the Manhattan borough of New York on Dec. 3, 2014.

Other demonstrations occurred in places such as Washington, D.C., California, Seattle, Atlanta and Denver. In the nation’s capital, protesters marched and blocked off streets, holding up signs.

In Seattle, protesters dropped to the pavement, some chanting “I can’t breathe” and “stop murdering black people.”

Bus lines were being re-routed in downtown Oakland because of protestors and, in Atlanta, demonstrators chanted “Black lives matter” and blocked one of the city’s major streets in response to the Staten Island grand jury’s decision.

Demonstrators also marched in Denver.

PHOTO: Demonstrators block traffic at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, during a protest against a New York grand jury decision Dec. 3, 2014 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong/Getty Images
Demonstrators block traffic at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, during a protest against a New York grand jury decision Dec. 3, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department will launch a civil rights investigation into Garner’s death, which occurred after the man was placed in an apparent choke hold by Officer David Pantaleo. The incident was caught on tape, and shows that Garner was unarmed and posed no apparent threat to the half-dozen officers who surrounded him.

PHOTO: A woman yells at a New York City Police officer during a protest after it was announced that the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner is not being indicted, Dec. 3, 2014, in New York.Julio Cortez/AP Photo
A woman yells at a New York City Police officer during a protest after it was announced that the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner is not being indicted, Dec. 3, 2014, in New York.

After Garner was taken down by Pantaleo, other officers held him down. Garner can be heard on tape saying, “I can’t breathe.”

Holder said the department will conduct an “independent, thorough, fair and expeditious investigation. He noted that many have seen the video of the incident, and that, “all lives must be valued, all lives.”

He said the federal investigation would review all aspects of the case. “We must seek to heal the breakdown in trust that we have seen, “ he said.

PHOTO: Eric Garner is shown in this undated family photo provided by the National Action Network, Saturday, July 19, 2014.Family photo via National Action Network/AP Photo
Eric Garner is shown in this undated family photo provided by the National Action Network, Saturday, July 19, 2014.

The Staten Island decision follows a similar finding by a grand jury in Missouri in the case of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black teen who was shot in a confrontation with Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

The Missouri grand jury decision sparked violent demonstrations in Ferguson, and days of protests in dozens of cities around the country.

The attorney general pointed out these incidents “have tested the sense of trust that must exist between law enforcement and the communities they are charged to serve and protect.” He added, “This is not a New York issue or a Ferguson issue alone. Those who have protested peacefully across our great nation following the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson have made that clear.”