NEW YORK (AP) — Family and community members gathered in New York City on Saturday to remember Eric Garner on the seventh anniversary of his death in a police chokehold.
Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, gathered with others in Staten Island just a few hundred feet from where her son lost his life, the Staten Island Advance reported. She said it was important to continue to honor her son’s legacy and never forget what happened.
“Every year since, we have commemorated and honored the memory of my son, and we will continue to do so,” Carr said. ”(With) some people, it would have been swept under the rug and they would have forgotten who Eric Garner was. But because of the movement, because of the people, because of my family, he’s not ever going to be forgotten.”
In 2014, the world witnessed New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is white, wrap his arm around the neck of Garner, who was Black, as they struggled on a sidewalk. The officer was arresting him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes illegally on Staten Island. The video, which would go on to set precedence for the documentation of police brutality, highlighted the use of a chokehold by the police department, which had officially banned the maneuver in November 1993. But unlike in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing in 2020, little to no legislative change was spurred from Garner’s death.
Garner’s dying gasps of “I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry among police reform activists.
Saturday’s remembrance was held at the “Healing Arch,” a public art installation honoring Garner. Bishop Victor Brown, senior pastor of the Mt. Sinai United Christian Church, said during the remembrance that it was important to hold police accountable for their actions.
Pantaleo was fired after a disciplinary trial. No other police personnel involved in Garner’s death lost their jobs, and none was criminally charged.
On Thursday, a New York appeals court ruled that a judicial inquiry is warranted into the investigation of Garner’s death, denying the city’s push to cancel the proceeding.