The widow of the New York man who died after a police officer put him in a choke hold said she will never accept an apology from the officer who a grand jury decided not to indict this afternoon.
“Hell, no,” said Esaw Garner, Eric Garner’s wife. “He’s still working, he’s still getting a paycheck, he’s still feeding his kids, and my husband is six feet under.
“He should be here celebrating Christmas and Thanksgiving and everything else with his children and grandchildren. And he can’t. Why? Because a cop did wrong,” she said at a news conference arranged by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
“Who is going to play Santa Claus for my grandkids?” she said.
Sharpton and Garner’s relatives have taken issue with the fact that the grand jury was led by a local prosecutor who regularly works with the New York Police Department, as was the case in Ferguson, Missouri, where last week a grand jury chose not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting an unarmed black man named Michael Brown.
In an effort to keep protests in Manhattan from escalating to the violent levels seen in Ferguson, Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, reiterated the family’s calls for peace throughout the protests.
“Yeah, we want you to rally, but rally in peace,” she said. “Make a statement, but make it in peace. Do what you have to, but do it in peace.”
Carr brought up the video of the July 17 incident which shows the moment when officer Daniel Pantaleo put Garner in an apparent choke hold and proceeded to push him onto the ground while Garner repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.”
“I am truly disappointed in the grand jury’s decision this evening. I don’t know what video they were looking at it wasn’t the same one that the rest of the world was looking at,” Carr said. “How could we put our trust in the justice system when they fail us like this?”
Sharpton said he is organizing a national march in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 13 “to say enough is enough.” He said he had spoken to Sean Combs before tonight’s news conference about getting involved with the march and hinted that he is organizing entertainment for the march.
Esaw Garner said, “This fight ain’t over. It just begun. I’m determined to get justice for my husband.”
“As long as I have a breath in my body,” she said, “I will fight the fight to the end.”