Eric Garner

Mother of Eric Garner on Anniversary of Chokehold Death: ‘Don't Let the Fire Burn Out'

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Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill making police chokeholds illegal in New York City this week - six years after the death of Eric Garner.

One the anniversary of his death, Eric's mother Gwen Carr said accountability is just as important as ever.

“I am remembering him today as I remember him every day. But today is especially hard because it just brings back all the memories of that day that NYPD murdered my son,” Carr said on MSNBC Friday morning.

"Don't let the fire burn out because what happens is when we've settled down, they settle down and they sweep all of this up under the rug," she said. "We can't let them sweep it under the rug. We have to keep saying our loved one’s name. We have to keep our fire burning, we have to keep the fire to the feet of the legislators." 

A grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo and after a 5-year delay, he was fired by the department in 2019. Later that year, Pantaleo filed a lawsuit against the NYPD alleging the decision to terminate him was "arbitrary and capricious." Garner's death sparked mass protests ⁠— becoming a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

NYPD officers approached Eric Garner on July 17 on suspicion of selling single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. After Garner told the police that he was tired of being harassed and was not selling cigarettes, the officers attempted to arrest Garner.

When officer Daniel Pantaleo placed his hands on Garner, Garner pulled his arms away. Pantaleo then placed his arm around Garner's neck and wrestled him to the ground.

"We lost Eric Garner, we should not have lost Eric Garner. We never want to again in this city, ever again, lose another person in any circumstance like that," de Blasio said. "We've been working for six years to make sure that never happens again."

Last month, a New York police officer was immediately suspended without pay after video surfaced of him putting a man in a chokehold in a Queens boardwalk.

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