Eric Garner’s Daughter: ‘He Was Crying Out to Get Back Home to Us’

Eric Garner’s police-related death on July 17, 2014, in Staten Island caused nationwide outrage after a video of the deadly confrontation went viral.


Garner, stopped for selling untaxed cigarettes, was put into a department-prohibited chokehold by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo and taken down to the ground, where he repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.”

On Friday, the anniversary of her father’s death, Erica Garner-Snipes tweeted:

Tomark the anniversary, hundreds of demonstrators rallied in Staten Island and Manhattan on Friday. Then, on Saturday, hundreds of people also gathered in Cadman Plaza in downtown Brooklyn in front of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Garner’s mother, GwenCarr, was present, along with other mothers whose sons were fatally shot, including Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martinkilled in 2012 by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator; Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. in 2014; and Wanda Johnson, the mother of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a transit police officer in Oakland, Calif. in 2009.

The following day, the mothers also attended both the 8 and 11 a.m. services at Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington, N.J. During the 11 a.m. service, Garner-Snipesaddressed the congregation to tell personal stories about her father.

“My father was a man,” shesaid. “He was human. I remember his love for holidays and family celebrations When you hear him described in the media, you don’t hear him described that way. You don’t hear him described as a man. As a human; as a dad.”

Garner-Snipesemphasized in her message that Garner said, “I can’t breathe” 11 times.

“That man was crying out with all of his life, not to start a movement; he was crying out to get back home to us,” she said.

View a cell phone video of her message:

In December 2014, a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo for Garner’s death. Since the incident, he has been on desk duty and is under the protection of police detail.

On July 13, the Garner family and New York City reached a$5.9 million settlementafter the filing of a wrongful-death suit. The family said they would continue to press for federal civil right charges and police reforms.

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