Eric Garner’s daughter does not think her father’s death is a race-related issue, but does think it’s a “national crisis.”
“This is not a black and white issue. This is a national crisis. I believe this is a crisis,” Erica Garner told Don Lemon during a CNN appearance on Thursday night. “I mean, for white people to come out and show how deeply they were hurt, and Asians and different people from different nations and different parts of the world to come out and show they felt the same way I felt. I greatly appreciate it.”
When Lemon pressed for more clarification as to whether she thinks it’s “a racial issue,” she added, “I really doubt it.”
“It was about the officer’s pride. It was about my father being 6’4″ and 350 pounds and he wanted to be the top cop that brings a big man down,” Erica continued. “I mean, my father wasn’t even doing anything. He didn’t have no gun, he didn’t run, he didn’t smack him, nothing.”
Protests have erupted around the country in the wake of a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Erica’s father, an unarmed 43-year-old black man who died after being put in a police chokehold last July.
The medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide caused by the chokehold and the compression the officer put on his chest.
“I can’t really say it’s a black or white issue. It’s about a police officer abusing their power,” Garner said before addressing possibly forgiving Officer Pantaleo.
“Can I forgive him? Eventually I can bring myself to forgiveness, but I will not forget what he did to my father, no matter how many sorrys he says,” Garner said. “You need to do the right thing, admit that you were wrong, and do your time.”