Erica Garner, who became an activist for social justice after the death of her father, Eric Garner, at the hands of police brutality, was pronounced dead, Dec. 29. The effects of an enlarged heart after she gave birth three months ago led to Garner’s death.
In a statement to CNN about Garner, her mother, Esaw Snipes said, “She was a fighter, she was a warrior and she lost the battle. She never recovered from when her father died. She is in a better place.”
According to Snipes, Garner pushed herself hard after her father’s death–fighting for political change and a stop to police brutality.
In July 2014, in an attempt to arrest Eric Garner for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally. Video evidence of the incident shows New York Police officer Daniel Pantaleo manhandling Garner from behind and putting him a department-banned chokehold.
Eric Garner, who also had asthma, was pronounced dead that day. Allegedly, his last words were “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”
Since then, Erica Garner has become a prominent activist–mainly aligning herself with the Black Lives Matter movement. Eric Garner’s last words (“I can’t breathe) has since become a cry for protesters, regarding the maltreatment of people of color at the hands of law enforcement.
At the announcement of her death, thousands of people on social media expressed their sadness and condolences at her departure. Many people remembering her as a brokenhearted woman who fought for the justice of her death.
“Many will say that Erica died of a heart attack, but that’s only partially true because her heart was already broken when she couldn’t get justice for her father,” said Rev. Al Sharpton at a meeting with the National Action Network, “Whatever asthma and the others attacked was a piece of the heart left. Her heart was attacked by a system that would choke her dad and not hold accountable those that did it.”
We here at I Exist would like to extend our condolences to Erica Garner’s family. Garner was a truly inspiring human being who worked hard to raise awareness to the prominent issue of police brutality. May she rest in peace.