A US grand jury has decided not to charge a white New York City police officer over the death of Eric Garner, a black man he placed in an apparent chokehold.
According to a BBC report, following the grand jury decision, crowds gathered in New York’s Times Square to vent their frustration.
President Barack Obama said it “speaks to larger issues” between minorities and law enforcement.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced a federal investigation of potential civil rights violations in the case.
The Department of Justice will also conduct a “complete review” of material gathered in the local investigation, he said.
Those Demonstrating against the Grand Jury decision were urged to do so peacefully, and said he was continuing a review of how to heal a “breakdown in trust” between law enforcement officers and communities.
A video of Officer Daniel Pantaleo arresting Garner in July gathered national attention.
In a video of the incident, asthmatic Garner, 43, was heard shouting “I can’t breathe!” as a number of officers restrained him on a street in New York.
The decision not to charge the officer came just a week after another grand jury in Missouri did not charge a white police officer who killed a black teenager in Ferguson, sparking riots there and protests across the country.
This week, in light of the Ferguson protests, President Obama sought emergency funding to improve police training and to restore trust in policing.
The president’s reaction to the Garner decision was swift.
“When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that is a problem, and it’s my job as president to help solve it.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called the grand jury outcome “one that many in our city did not want” and appealed for a “peaceful, constructive” response.
Garner family lawyer Jonathon Moore said he was “astonished” by it and Eric Garner’s daughter, Erica Snipes, told the BBC she was outraged.
“On that video you can see the most cruel horrible thing that someone could do to someone,” she added. “It’s just not right.”