Erica Garner — an activist for social justice and the eldest daughter of the man who died from a police choke hold in New York in 2014 — died on Saturday days after suffering a heart attack, according to her official Twitter account.
“Erica the world loves you. I love you. I am glad you came into our lives. May you find the peace in the next life that you deserved while you were here. I will always love you my sister. love you,” Garner’s Twitter account, which is run by her family, said.
Garner had gone into cardiac arrest earlier in the week and suffered major brain damage from a lack of oxygen, the account said.
“When you report this you remember she was human: mother, daughter, sister, aunt. Her heart was bigger than the world. It really really was,” her account said. “She cared when most people wouldn’t have. She was good. She only pursued right, no matter what. No one gave her justice.”
Erica Garner is the eldest daughter of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six. In July 2014, police attempted to arrest Eric Garner for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally in Staten Island. Video of the incident shows New York Police officer Daniel Pantaleo tackling Garner from behind and taking him to the ground using a department-banned chokehold.
Pushed for social justice, political change
Eric Garner, who had asthma, was pronounced dead that day. His apparent last words — “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” — became a rallying cry for protesters and outraged citizens who said the incident showed that law enforcement abused their power and mistreated people of color.
His death was ruled a homicide, but a grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo on criminal charges. The city of New York settled with Eric Garner’s estate for $5.9 million in July 2015.
Erica Garner became a prominent activist in the wake of her father’s death, pushing for political change and social justice broadly aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement.
She told CNN’s Don Lemon in 2014 she believed her father’s death had more to do with police misconduct than race.
“I can’t really say it’s a black and white issue,” she said. “It’s about the police officer and abusing their power.”
During the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, she endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and prominently appeared in an ad for his campaign.
“I feel like a representative for people throughout this whole nation because I’m doing this. I’m speaking out, me being his daughter,” she said in the ad. “That’s what I want to do. I just want to tell my truth.”
(Eric Levenson, CNN)