Updated: Erica Garner, Daughter of NYPD Chokehold Victim, Dead

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Erica Garner, activist and daughter of S.I. chokehold victim Eric Garner whose death initiated the Black Lives Matter movement, has died after a massive heart attack on Christmas Eve resulting in irreversible brain damage.

Garner, 27, found her voice after her father, Eric, was murdered by NYPD officers after a local shop owner called police complaining he was selling loose cigarettes. The entire confrontation was videotaped by a bystander, Ramsey Orta.


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The four police officers, who were not indicted, formed a horseshoe around Garner, who was considerably taller and larger than any of the arresting officers. Not known for violence, Garner, refused to comply with a direct police order which resulted in charges of resisting arrest and grand larceny for selling the loose cigarettes.

On July 17, 2014, the officers after slowly backing him against a wall, and waiting for a significant period of time, jumped on his back and essentially rode him to the ground, all the while ignoring his pleas of "I can't breathe."

Approximately 15 seconds later, after the NYPD placed him in an illegal chokehold, he was dead on the sidewalk of Staten Island for selling loose cigarettes.

After the Richmond County Grand Jury failed to indict the police officers, Garner's final words, "I can't breathe" were featured on the front pages of nearly all New York City Daily Newspapers. Following the Grand Jury decision fifty demonstration were held in cities around the nation.

According to subsequent media reports Garner was frequently the subject of police abuse and denigration.

His death and final words sparked a global Black Lives Matter movement led by his daughter Erica, who began her activism at home, on the streets of Staten Island, leading demonstrations, and continuing to utilize social media to keep her father's death and police abuse in the people's mind.


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Erica held a vigil and "die-in" on December 11, 2014, on Staten Island in memory of her father, near where he died. On her Twitter account, she vowed to continue to lead protests in Staten Island twice a week, lying down in the spot where her father collapsed and died.

"Family members were being called early Thursday to Woodhull Hospital to say final goodbyes," reported the New York Daily News.

Erica Garner suffered cardiac arrest December 24, 2017 and remained on life support for the following six days. She was removed from life support and passed away peacefully with friends and family by her side.  

Final arrangements have yet to be announced.

 

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