With all of the bitterness, sadness and controversy surrounding the death of Eric Garner as the result of a police chokehold on July 14, 2014; his mother, Gwen Carr, is imploring people to use her son’s death as a platform for change. Carr, whose son was 43 years old when he died during an encounter with police over what they alleged to be the sale of untaxed cigarettes, wrote her feelings on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign page, according to NBC New York.
“With all the violence and injustice that’s upon us today, we need a candidate who can move us forward—that’s Hillary. We need to elect her, not just for us, but for our children, our grandchildren, and their children. We have to bring forth a legacy that will outlive us.”
Eric Garner died when police accused of him selling untaxed cigarettes in Staten Island, New York. When he refused to be arrested, police swarmed him and took him to the ground. In the final moments of his life, he said, “I can’t breathe,” which was documented on video. He was unable to be revived and his death was ruled a homicide by autopsy. The officer who restrained him in the chokehold was not indicted by a Staten Island grand jury after arguing that he was using a department-approved take-down maneuver, not commonly employed, but still endorsed, called “The Seatbelt.”
The grand jury’s lack of indictment of that officer set about national protests and became a platform case for the movement “Black Lives Matter.”
Hillary Clinton mentioned Eric Garner’s death during the democratic candidates forum on November 6, that aired on MSNBC. She said that while she believed selling untaxed goods was wrong, it was not something that a human being should be killed over.
“I still can’t get over that Eric Garner, in Staten Island in New York, he died from a chokehold.”
Nationally, many agree with her, but many others agree that by breaking the law and then resisting arrest, Garner placed himself in an unsafe situation. Allegedly an asthmatic, Garner would have potentially had complications from any type of scuffle. His final words, “I can’t breathe,” haunted many and were well-publicized on protest signs, T-shirts and other paraphernalia that addresses the issue of alleged police brutality in the United States, particularly against those of color. Garner was African-American.
Democratic Presidential nominees have endorsed the movement “Black Lives Matter,” including Bernie Sanders, who spoke on the topic at length in October, according to CBS.
“The reason those words matter is the African-American community knows that on any given day some innocent person like Sandra Bland can get into a car and then three days later she’s going to end up dead in jail or their kids are going to get shot. We need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom and we need major, major reforms in a broken criminal justice system.”
Hillary Clinton also responded that “black lives matter.” When she was questioned how she would improve upon policies regarding social justice that have been initiated by the Obama presidency, she stated that the country “needs a new deal.”
“I think that President Obama has been a great moral leader on these issues and has laid out an agenda that has been obstructed by the Republicans at every turn. More needs to be done, making it possible for every child to live up to his or her God-given potential. That is really hard to do if you don’t have early childhood education, if you don’t have schools that are able to meet the needs of the people or good housing. There’s a long list. We need a new New Deal for communities of color.”
[Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images]