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Dem Congressman Wants to Make Police Chokeholds a Federal Crime

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (2nd L) places his hands in the 'Don't Shoot' position while speaking out with members of the New York congressional delegation, including (L to R) Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), on a Staten Island grand jury's decision not to bring criminal charges against a white police officer who was involved in the death of Eric Garner December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York congressman wants to make the use of chokeholds by police officers a federal crime.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), left, with members of the New York congressional delegation, including Reps Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), center, Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.), following a Staten Island grand jury's decision to bring criminal charges again a white police officers in the death of Eric Garner, Dec. 3, 2014 in Washington. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Brooklyn Democrat Hakeem Jeffries said on Monday he's sponsoring a bill that would amend civil rights laws that deal with excessive force. The measure would define chokeholds as a deprivation of rights under the color of law.

Jeffries made the announcement outside New York Police Department headquarters. He was joined by the mother of Eric Garner, an unarmed man killed by a police chokehold last year on Staten Island.

The medical examiner classified Garner's videotaped death a homicide. But a grand jury declined to press charges against the officer.

Garner's death was one of several recent killings of black men or boys by white police officers across the nation. The killings have spurred sometimes violent demonstrations.

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