Emerald Snipes, the daughter of Eric Garner, and sister of Erica Garner, stood in front of a New York City courthouse Tuesday, and made it clear that she would continue fighting for her father and sister.
This, despite federal prosecutors announcing on the eve of the 5 year anniversary of Garner’s death that there was not enough evidence to prove that Officer Daniel Pantaleo violated Garner’s civil rights on July 17, 2014, when he put the 43-year-old father in a chokehold which, ultimately, proved fatal.
Attorney General William Barr, a Trump-appointee, made the final decision.
“As you all can I tell, I’m very angry,” Emerald Snipes said. “I’m very angry. I stand here in the spirit of my sister, who fought for justice until her dying day for my father. Standing outside protesting. She called the Civilian Complaints Review Board (CCRB) meetings and they didn’t do their job. She called the Department of Justice, and they didn’t do their job.”
“So, no,” Snipes continued. “I’m going to stand outside and I’m going to scream it. Daniel Pantaleo needs to be fired. He needs to be fired … five years later and there’s still no justice. There is no waiting. There is no nothing. So, no, there won’t be no calm. So, no, there won’t be no peace. No justice, no peace. … Don’t apologize to me, fire the officer.”
Eric Garner said “I can’t breathe” 11 times as Pantaleo stole the breath from his lungs, before falling unconscious.
Below are Eric Garner’s last words:
“Get away … for what? Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. … Everyone standing here will tell you I didn’t do nothing. I did not sell nothing …Because every time you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me … I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. Please, please, don’t touch me. Do not touch me … I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”
“If my father had fought back, he’d be in a jail cell,” Snipes said. “He’d be under the jail.” Saying of federal prosecutors, “They came in that room and gave their condolences. Five years later, I don’t want no f—king condolences. I want my father and I want my sister. How about that.”
Erica Garner suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 27. She gave birth to her second child in August 2017—her son, Eric III, named in honor of his grandfather. It was then that doctors discovered that she had an enlarged heart, but she refused to stop fighting for justice. Despite how dangerous pregnancy and the postpartum period is for Black women, how potentially fatal, she kept going.
“I warned her every day, you have to slow down, you have to relax and slow down,” her mother, Esaw Garner-Snipes, said.
The police state that killed Eric Garner; the killer, Daniel Pantaleo, who choked the breath from the body of Erica’s “Superman”; the mayor, Bill de Blasio, who protected that killer; and the NYPD that keeps him gainfully employed to kill again, not only denied Erica, Emerald, and the entire Snipes-Garner family justice, but continues to actively cause them harm.
Erica Garner lived with the eyes of the NYPD following her every move. She fought without ceasing for her father, for her children, for her people, for a world in which the humanity of her people was unassailable. She cried freedom every day of her life.
And Emerald Snipes, in the name of her father, in the name of her sister, is doing the same.