Saying that several arms of the U.S. Department of Justice have been monitoring the inquiry into the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner, Attorney General Eric Holder said, "the Justice Department will proceed with a federal civil rights investigation of Mr. Garner's death."
Holder promised an "independent, thorough, fair and expeditious investigation."
News of the federal inquiry comes hours after a grand jury decided no charges should be filed against police officer Daniel Pantaleo over Garner's death.
Calling Garner's death a tragedy, Holder went on to describe the work that must be done to restore faith and trust between police departments and communities.
He then called for all protests about New York City case to be peaceful.
Update, 10:15 p.m. ET: Attorney general nominee Loretta E. Lynch, whose U.S. Attorney's office will run the Justice Department investigation, promised in a statement that it "will be fair and thorough, and it will be conducted as expeditiously as possible."