Eric Garner’s family renews calls for criminal charges against NY police
The family of an unarmed African-American man who died last year after being put in a white police officer’s chokehold in New York City is pressing for federal civil rights charges against the officer.
Eric Garner’s wife, Esaw Garner, his mother, Gwen Carr, and three of his children held a press conference on Tuesday, saying the $5.9 million settlement with the city did not provide justice in the case.
Tuesday’s press conference was the first of a number of events planned for the first anniversary of Garner’s death.
“We are losing our family members and they (police) are not losing anything,” said Esaw, who more than once broke down in tears. “Now I am alone to deal with this my whole life.”
New York City agreed to pay Garner’s family $5.9 million to resolve the claim over his death, officials said on Monday. Garner’s family had filed a claim in October seeking $75 million in damages.
“The settlement that we got isn’t a victory,” said Garner’s mother, Carr. “The victory will come when we get justice. Where is the justice?”
A grand jury in December declined to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo, who placed Garner in the chokehold, a tactic banned by the New York City Police Department.
Garner, 43, was accused of illegally selling cigarettes on a sidewalk when Pantaleo put him in the chokehold from behind and brought him down with the help of other officers.
A cell phone video that a bystander took of the incident sparked protests across the US over police brutality and the mistreatment of minority groups.
“Eric Garner did not die in vain – his life mattered,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It came to matter deeply to his city and his nation.”