‘Be mad enough to stand behind these laws,’ says Eric Garner’s daughter, Emerald Snipes-Garner


Six years after Eric Garner’s final pleas that he could not breathe during an ultimately fatal arrest, his family is continuing to seek a national chokehold ban that could have prevented the loss of lives of other victims in police custody.

“I always bring it back to the policies and the laws and making the challenges in that way,” Emerald Snipes-Garner said during an interview with AJ+ released on the sixth anniversary of her father’s death. “I don’t think anyone’s more mad than me. I watched my father get killed on the TV repeatedly. I don’t think anybody’s anger level is at the capacity that mine’s is.”

“Be mad enough to stand behind these laws. Get mad enough to stand behind these policies and stand behind these families. That’s where your anger level should be.” 

Snipes-Garner did not explicitly state in the interview excerpts aired by AJ+ which laws she was referring to, but the news outlet interspersed her push for a chokehold band in graphic run between her comments. 

Garner’s final words, “I can’t breathe,” were echoed by George Floyd as a since-jailed white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during his fatal arrest in May. 

Like Garner, Floyd pleaded for his life, begging former Officer Derek Chauvin to remove his knee, but his pleas went unheeded and he died shortly after he appeared to lose consciousness. 

Video of the arrest taken by a bystander went viral in the US and abroad, prompting mass demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice that continue three months on.

The reckoning on race prompted by Floyd’s death has led to the most widespread and long-lived demands for a significant overhaul to the criminal justice system in modern US history.

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