Remembering Eric Garner, Two Years On

  • Marchers gathered July 17 to mark the second anniversary of Eric Garner's death. (Photo by Julius Constantine Motal)

On a stoop next to 202 Bay St., Esaw Garner, the widow of Eric Garner, waited for the march to begin. At that address on Staten Island two years ago, Eric Garner was killed by police, and his last words “I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement. At the ferry terminal, a 10-minute walk away, demonstrators prepared to march on July 17 to mark the two-year anniversary of Eric’s death.

Erica Garner, Eric’s oldest child, led the march from the ferry station to the memorial and through the streets of Staten Island. NYPD officers flanked the demonstrators who voiced their anger that Daniel Pantaleo, the officer whose chokehold killed Eric, is still on the police department’s payroll. They decried Mayor Bill de Blasio’s opposition to the “chokehold bill” which would make it illegal for NYPD officers to use chokeholds. They called for the permanent appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate police officers who have killed in the line of duty.

The demonstration was largely peaceful and came to a close at 202 Bay St. It was equal parts anger and determination, anger at the ongoing violence and determination to keep on fighting for change.

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