Erica Garner, activist and daughter of police chokehold victim Eric Garner, is in critical condition after suffering major brain damage.
New York Daily News reports that family members were called on Thursday (Dec. 28) to say their final goodbyes to Erica, 27, who had a heart attack triggered by an asthma attack on Saturday. She has been in a coma ever since, with her family keeping her on life support as of Thursday morning.
The unarmed Eric Garner died in 2014, after police put him into a chokehold while arresting him under suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide due, in part, to the chokehold – and despite the NYPD policy prohibiting the use of such chokeholds, officer Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted. The Garner family won $5.9 million in an out-of-court settlement with the City of New York.
Video of the incident spurred nationwide protests against police brutality, with Garner’s cry of “I can’t breathe” becoming a refrain of the Black Lives Matter movement. And Erica Garner herself became an activist, leading protests in her father’s honor.
People controlling Erica Garner’s Twitter account are retweeting well wishes from supporters, celebrities and civil rights leaders such as Jesse Jackson, Deray McKesson, and others. In one of the retweets, Erica is shown on video speaking about the stresses that come with her father’s death and fighting for justice.
“I’m struggling right now, with the stress or whatever. This system beats you down to where you can’t win,” she said. “…I felt the same pain that my father felt on that day when he said ‘I can’t breathe.’”
Activist and journalist Shaun King tweeted that he visited the hospital to see Garner, and emphasized that she has not died.
“She does have limited brain function but doctors say they see some activity. Her condition is no doubt critical, but the family was encouraged this afternoon,” King said. “Do not write her obituary.”
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