Mr Garner, 43, was stopped on a street in New York on 17 July on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

After a confrontation with police he was wrestled to the ground and restrained by force. He became unresponsive and later died.

The US justice department is to launch a civil rights investigation into the death of Eric Garner, a black man who was placed in an apparent chokehold by a white New York police officer.

A Staten Island grand jury on Wednesday ended the criminal case against a white New York police officer whose chokehold on an unarmed black man led to the man’s death, a decision that drew condemnation from elected officials and touched off a wave of protests.

The fatal encounter in July was captured on videos and seen around the world. But after viewing the footage and hearing from witnesses, including the officer who used the chokehold, the jurors deliberated for less than a day before deciding that there was not enough evidence to go forward with charges against the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, 29, in the death of the man, Eric Garner, 43.

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.