Eric Garner

Eric Garner

July 17, 2014

Staten Island, New York

What Happened: Eric Garner, a horticulturist at the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, was killed in a chokehold initiated by officer Daniel Pantaleo of the New York City Police Department. Garner was approached by the NYPD on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes. He denied that he was selling cigarettes, and Pantaleo subsequently attempted to arrest Garner. Multiple officers pinned him to the ground. Garner, an asthmatic, repeated “I can’t breathe” 11 times before losing consciousness.

Charges: Garner’s death was ruled a homicide. Pantaleo was not indicted by a grand jury on December 4, 2014. On July 13, 2015, the City of New York reached a $5.9 million settlement with the Garner family. On August 19, 2019, Pantaleo was fired.

Aftermath: Widespread national protests, and adoption of Garner’s last words “I can’t breathe” as a rallying cry. Discussion surrounding the appropriate use of force by the law enforcement. Assata’s Daughters was formed in Chicago due to the lack of public official response to Garner’s death. Learn more at the sources below: