Protesters vow more demonstrations in wake of Garner decision
Chinedu Onyemaboi and Cyril Josh Barker | 7/25/2019, 10:35 a.m.
Eric Garner said “I can’t breathe” 11 times as he was being killed by an NYPD officer in Staten Island in 2014. Organizers are vowing 11 protests to mark the five years since his death while Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, met with lawmakers about the situation.
This week, the Rev. Al Sharpton took Carr to Washington, D.C. to meet with multiple members of Congress following last week’s announcement that the
officer responsible for Garner’s death would not face federal charges. The meetings come on the heels of renewed calls to investigate police misconduct cases in Philadelphia, Chicago and New York City.
Carr met with U.S. senators and presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker and Congressmembers Hakeem Jeffries, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.
“Last week’s decision by William Barr and the Justice Department was a severe miscarriage of justice. Eric’s family is justifiably outraged at the result—as am I,” said Sharpton. “We will not stand by while countless other families are ripped apart by the deaths of innocent Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement. It’s our sincerest hope that these meetings provide our elected representatives with the courage and resolve to stand up for justice.”
Garner’s children, Emerald and Eric Jr., started their eighth day of action with supporters in front of NYPD headquarters and a call for Commissioner James O’Neill to fire Officer Pantaleo on Tuesday.
A Change.org petition titled “Fire Daniel Pantaleo for The Murder of Eric Garner Now” has had over 64,000 signatures of support as of Wednesday, July 24.
“My family and I have stood by for five years waiting for a decision from the Department of Justice,” Emerald said. “They asked us to let them ‘investigate’ the murder of Eric Garner. What other evidence does one need to convict a murderer who was filmed in broad daylight killing an unarmed man?”
Thousands of protesters marched down to New York’s City Hall last week about the decision made by the Justice Department this week and several other protests are planned.
Last Thursday, Emerald met with Mayor de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray at Gracie Mansion for a private meeting. She told the mayor that Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who killed her father, should be fired.
When asked if he will be attending any of the protests in the City, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio declined.
“The mayor expressed his position and I found it unacceptable,” Emerald said in a statement. “Nothing is going to stop us from continuing to protest and if we had to wait five years, we will protest five years.”
She added that she’s hosting a discussion at Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem on July 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to discuss the continued pursuit for justice.
Carr also had a meeting with de Blasio asking him to fire Pantaleo and the officers involved in her son’s death. In a statement, she said she’s not pleased with the mayor’s lack of action on holding the officers accountable.