Esaw Garner, wife of deceased Eric Garner has vowed to fight for justice till her last breath. Garner family

US attorney general Eric Holder has announced that a civil rights inquiry will be held into the death of Eric Garner, a black American who died after being held in a chokehold by a white police officer in New York.

The announcement came after a grand jury decided against charging the officer. The unfortunately timed decision follows the refusal by a jurors in Missouri to indict officer who shot dead unarmed black student Michael Brown.

Garner died on July 17 while he was being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes. The 43-year-old asthmatic was recorded on video shouting "I can't breathe!" as police officers restrained him on a street in Staten Island. The video has subsequently gone viral.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced "an independent, thorough, fair and expeditious" investigation into potential civil rights violations in the case.

"Mr Garner's death is one of several recent incidents across our great country that have tested the sense of trust that must exist between law enforcement officers and the communities they are charged to serve and to protect," he said.

Eric Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, said she would fight for justice. "As long as I have a breath in my body, I will fight the fight to the end."

Garner's daughter said she was outraged.

Protests in NY

"I can't breathe" became the rallying cry of crowds that gathered in Times Square in New York to protest against the grand jury's decision, reported NBC News.

"A murderer was caught on camera, and for whatever reason they [the grand jury] decided to let a murder go free, and this keeps happening," said protester Adina Bloom - one of many marching to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting from Times Square.