By: PIX 11
STATEN ISLAND — On July 17 of last year, New York police confronted an African-American man on the street for allegedly selling loose cigarettes.
What happened next, captured on cellphone video, would spur protests and demonstrations for months and added to the growing conversation about race relations and how police treat black men.
Eric Garner's death after being put in a department-prohibited chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo and subsequent protests triggered reforms in how police go about their business, particularly in minority communities.
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the anniversary of Garner's death was on his mind, as it was with many New Yorkers, but also said "I think the important thing is to stay focused on the work of reform."
Earlier this week, the 43-year-old's family settled with the city for $5.9 million but said that won't end their push for police reforms. Garner's family said they will continue pressing for federal civil rights charges in the case.
"It has been 365 days since my dad was killed, 365 days," daughter Erica Garner wrote in a tweet. "Still no answers, still no justice as we march remember eric garner today."
A grand jury in Staten Island decided in December 2014 not to indict Pantaleo in Garner's death, a move that ignited days and nights of protest.
Shortly after the fatal encounter, Pantaleo was stripped of his gun and badge and put on modified duty. Four EMS workers who responded to the scene but apparently did not try to resuscitate Garner were suspended without pay.
Called "barbaric" by his family, Garner's arrest was caught on camera by an onlooker. That widely watched footage shows 43-year-old Garner telling officers to leave him alone and refusing to be handcuffed.
Pantaleo responded by wrapping his arm around Garner's neck in an apparent chokehold, a move banned under NYPD policy for some 20 years.
Garner, who was heavyset and had asthma, could be heard gasping, repeating, "I can't breathe." Minutes later, he was dead.
The city medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide "caused by compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police."
The New York verdict came at a time when police-community relations were part of a national — and now ongoing — conversation. Shortly before the Staten Island decision, a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, declined to charge former officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who, like Garner, was unarmed when he was confronted by police and later died.
CNN and the Associated Press contributed to this report.