‘Enough Is Enough.’ Eric Garner’s Daughter Proposes Law to Prosecute Officers Who Use Chokeholds
The death of Eric Garner five years ago in Staten Island, N.Y., drew national attention after video showed the 43-year-old father of six restrained by a police officer in a chokehold and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”—a phrase that became the anthem of a movement against police misconduct.
The use of chokeholds was banned by the New York City Police Department in 1993, but a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for causing Garner’s death. While Pantaleo was later fired by the NYPD, he was never prosecuted.
Emerald Snipes Garner, the youngest daughter of Garner, is proposing a new law to change this.
“It’s just like enough is enough,” Garner, whose “Please Support the Eric Garner Law” petition had nearly 40,000 signatures on Change.org as of Wednesday afternoon, told Fortune.
The Eric Garner Law would guarantee that any police officer in New York State who uses the chokehold method of restraint on an unarmed civilian would be prosecuted.
“My motivation has been there since day one, since the day that my father died,” Garner said. “I’ve been advocating pretty much for my family and myself.”
Garner hopes to collect 100,000 signatures before speaking to the New York State Legislature in Albany, the state capital, in the coming weeks. Her previous Change.org petition calling for Pantaleo to be fired had nearly 145,000 signatures.
“The more signatures this gets, the more momentum and pressure builds on New York State legislators to respond,” Michael Jones, managing director of campaigns with Change.org, told Fortune.
Jones said he is “100% sure” that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio aborted his 2020 presidential campaign, in part, because of tensions related to the Garner case.
While criss-crossing the country to campaign, de Blasio faced criticism that his administration was not aggressive enough when it comes to the police department. At the Democratic debate in Detroit on July 31, protesters in the audience shouted, “Fire Pantaleo.”
Representatives for de Blasio did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.
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