Officials seek Justice probe into chokehold death

By the Associated Press | August 14, 2014 | 2:04 PM EDT

Members of Congress, Yvette Clarke, far left, Hakeem Jeffries, second from left, and Gregory Meeks, center, hold a press conference outside police headquarters on Thursday Aug. 14, 2014 in New York. Members of New York's congressional delegation are asking the Justice Department to formally investigate last month's police custody death of Eric Garner and the law enforcement strategy known as "broken windows." The strategy is based on the idea that fighting smaller crimes like drinking in public discourages more dangerous behavior. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK (AP) — Members of New York's congressional delegation are asking the Justice Department to formally investigate the police custody death of Eric Garner and the law enforcement strategy known as broken windows.

The six Democrats say black and Latino communities are disproportionately affected by the tactic of going after smaller crimes to help stop bigger ones.

An autopsy showed Garner died of a chokehold. Police suspected him of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

A letter sent Wednesday to Attorney General Eric Holder is signed by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, Gregory Meeks, Charles Rangel, Jose Serrano and Nydia Velazquez.

Garner's death has been the biggest test of Mayor Bill de Blasio's first year in office.

He has vowed to support the department but also pledged to help communities of color who feel mistreated by police.