NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - July 17, 2014 is the day Gwen Carr's life unraveled.
Her son, Eric Garner, died outside a Staten Island convenience store during a police altercation.
After five years of silence, federal prosecutors officially cleared the NYPD of criminal conduct in the death of Eric Garner.
"Five years ago my son said ‘I can't breathe' 11 times, and today we can't breathe because they let us down," said Carr.
US Attorney Richard Donoghue admitted the Justice Department was divided on whether NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo's apparent chokehold on an unarmed Garner was a crime.
He says Attorney General Bill Barr broke the stalemate.
"Even if we could prove Officer Pantaleo's hold of Mr. Garner constituted unreasonable force, we would still have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Pantaleo acted willfully in violation of the law," Donoghue said.
Family, friends and members of the community were outraged to learn the Justice Department will not prosecute a case that helped spark the ‘Black Lives Matter' movement.
They took to the streets in Harlem to protest the decision.
Emerald Garner, chanted "I can't breathe" 11 times. The same way her father did just before he died.
The police union which is representing Pantaleo in a still unresolved NYPD departmental trial hailed the decision.
"It is no coincidence that a grand jury in NYC and now DOJ, both of which had full access to all the facts of this case, found no criminality in Police Officer Pantaleo's actions," said Pat Lynch, the President of the PBA in a statement.
Many are now turning their attention to Mayor Bill de Blasio who said for years he was waiting for the Feds to finish its investigation before the city will begin a departmental trial.
That day has come. "Fire Pantaleo, that's what we're calling for, fire him now," Emerald Garner chanted.