We remember Black Lives Matter activist Erica Garner, who died Saturday after she fell into a coma following an asthma-induced heart attack. She was just 27 years old. Erica helped lead the struggle for justice for her father, Eric Garner, who was killed when police officers in Staten Island wrestled him to the ground, pinned him down and applied a fatal chokehold in 2014. His final words were “I can’t breathe,” which he repeated 11 times. In August, Erica gave birth to her second child, a boy named after her late father. Doctors say the pregnancy strained her heart. We feature Erica in her own words on Democracy Now!, and we speak with two people who were close to her: The Intercept’s Shaun King and The Root’s Kirsten West Savali, whose piece is headlined “Erica Garner: ‘I’m in This Fight Forever.'”
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to the tragic death of Black Lives Matter activist Erica Garner, who died Saturday after she fell into a coma following an asthma-induced heart attack. Erica Garner was the eldest daughter of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old father of six who was killed in 2014 when police officers in Staten Island, New York, wrestled him to the ground, pinned him down and applied a fatal chokehold. His death was recorded by a bystander named Ramsey Orta on his cellphone. In the video, Officer Daniel Pantaleo can be seen placing Garner, who was unarmed, in the chokehold. As officers held him down, Garner cried out, at least 11 times, “I can’t breathe!” Those were his final words, and his daughter Erica made sure they were not forgotten, calling for justice and leading protests with the chant “I can’t breathe!” It was at one of these early protests that Democracy Now! first met Erica.
ERICA GARNER: I’m Erica Snipes Garner. I’m the daughter of Eric Garner.
AMY GOODMAN: How old are you?
ERICA GARNER: I’m 24. My dad was a loving man, he was a humble man, and he was a nice man. Like, he was very nice. I mean, you could never get a “no” out of him….