Image of Gwen Carr, Eric Garner's mother.

In this Thursday, May 9, 2019 file photo, Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, speaks during a news conference after leaving court in New York. A New York appeals court ruled Thursday, July 15, 2021 that a judicial inquiry is warranted into the investigation of Eric Garner’s 2014 police chokehold death, denying the city’s push to cancel the proceeding. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

By J.K. Schmid
Special to the AFRO

July 17 marked the seventh anniversary of Eric Garner’s death.

Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother; Legacy Miller, Eric Garner’s youngest child; Jewel Miller, Legacy’s mother and dozens of others gathered on Staten Island at a memorial to Mr. Garner’s killing at the hands of New York police 2014.

“I’m reliving that, but I’m coming to grips with it by fighting for him,” Ms. Carr told reporters. “We’re still talking about it, we’re still going to court about it. And we’re still trying to get the officers to stand accountable, the ones who were responsible for my son’s death that day.”

Daniel Pantaleo, the White NYPD officer that delivered the chokehold to Mr. Garner, a Black man, was terminated in 2019. The chokehold, while expressly forbidden by the NYPD, was not illegal at the time. New York state legislation was subsequently signed in 2020 outlawing the practice of chokeholds.

Mr. Pantaleo remains the only officer terminated and no fellow officers or personnel have been criminally charged.

The Garner family is still seeking justice. “It’s the same as seven years ago, no justice has been served at all,” Jewel Miller said. “We’ve got a lot of streets named after us, the kind of, you know, ‘be quiets.’ But no justice has been served at all.”

This memorial comes after a July 15 New York Court of Appeals ruling allowing an inquiry into the death of Garner.

Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe,” continue to be a rallying cry for police reform across the nation and the world.

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