Erica Garner, strident activist and mother, passed away suddenly from heart complications at the age of 27 on December 30 last year. Before she passed away, she penned an essay for Black millennials on Blavity about seeking justice for her late father, Eric Garner.
The Birth of a Fighter
In 2014, Eric Garner’s last moments were caught on cell phone video as he pleaded for his life while NYPD officers administered a deadly chokehold. His last words, “I can’t breathe,” became part of the Black Lives Matter Movement’s lexicon.
His death also spurred the social justice activism his daughter, Erica left as her legacy. She was a loud, consistent, and passionate advocate for obtaining justice for her father’s death. None of the officers involved in Eric Garner’s death were indicted let alone found guilty.
Department of Justice Delays
The Department of Justice’s investigation has not born fruit. Earlier this week, Erica’s family released a video she secretly recorded during a meeting with the DOJ. She was frustrated with the lack of results and updates from the federal agency.
Erica submitted what is now her final essay just weeks before her passing. The 715-word piece details her annoyance with the pace of the federal probe, but also her resolve at getting justice for her father.
“It’s been three years since the non-indictment of my dad’s killer and Daniel Panteleo, Justin D’Amico and other members of the NYPD police 120th precinct in Staten Island have yet to be punished in the role they played in my father’s death and my family has yet to see justice,” wrote Erica in her essay.
Disappointment in Politicians
Erica notes that while many New York politicians have been offering lip service about the circumstances surrounding her father’s tragic death, few have actually taken action. On the federal level, she notes that having Black people in top DOJ positions has not led to justice either.
“My family has sat through two Black federal prosecutors, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, and still has yet to see justice in my dad’s case. The only answers we have received is that the investigation is still open.”
She ends her essay acknowledging that the wait for justice is still ongoing.
Read Erica Garner’s entire essay on Blavity.