Erica Garner funeral is marred by family drama, grandmother banned from service

Gwen Carr says daughter-in-law is barred her from entering Harlem church

(Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images and Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

Eric Garner‘s mother was kept from attending the funeral of her own granddaughter, Erica Garner, by her daughter-in-law, who was in reportedly charge of the guest list.

Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, was barred from the funeral, resulting in shoving match outside of First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, according to the New York Post.

She later claimed that it was Erica’s mother, Esaw “Pinky” Garner, that kept her from attending the funeral because of an old rift in the family and bad blood between them.

“She didn’t want none of our family in there, on my side — the Garners,” Carr told the Post.

The Rev. Al Sharpton addressed the “family friction” at the funeral service. “I hope we can heal whatever the family friction is and keep fighting for justice,” he said, according to the New York Times.

Bernie Sanders pays tribute

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter of condolences to the Garner family, which was read by Sharpton during the funeral service. While her grandmother supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, Erica Garner threw her support to Sanders.

“Getting to know Erica was one of the great honors of my campaign. Erica never asked to be an activist, but responded to her own personal tragedy by becoming a fierce fighter for criminal justice reform and an end to police brutality,” Sanders said in the statement.

Erica Garner hailed as a hero activist

Mourners at the First Corinthian Baptist Church gathered to remember the life of Erica Garner, who died on Dec. 30 at age 27 after a heart attack. Many praised her legacy as a civil rights activist and remembered the work she did for the Black community.

“When her father died, she was the one going out there in Staten Island every Tuesday and Thursday,” said the Rev. Kevin McCall. “She was the one to bring this to a national level.”

Sharpton praised Erica Garner for “turning her pain into power,” adding “When her father died, an activist was born. You don’t just accept injustice, you fight.”

“In the name of Erica and her father, we’re going to keep fighting,” Sharpton said.

Others in attendance at the funeral were rapper Common, Michael Brown Sr., the father of Michael Brown, and other local city officials.

Protests outside funeral service

Demonstrators also gathered outside the funeral, protesting against police brutality. In one moment caught on video, a protester can be heard shouting “I can’t breathe” as police subdue him.

“You all are really going to do this today?” a man can be heard yelling off-camera as the police move in.

“I can’t breathe” were Eric Garner’s last words and became a rallying cry at police brutality protests across the country. Garner died after being put into an illegal chokehold by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo.

According to the New York Daily News, Another group of demonstrators came together outside the 120th Precinct on Staten Island and then all went together to the spot where Eric Garner was killed. The protest ended without incident.