'We can prevent it from happening again': Daughter of Eric Garner speaks with students in Gary

Garner died in 2014 after being put in a chokehold by New York City police, sparking nation-wide protests.

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Thursday, January 18, 2024
Daughter of Eric Garner speaks with students in Gary
The daughter of Eric Garner, a man who died at the hands of New York City police in 2014, spoke with college students Thursday in Gary, Indiana.

GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- Almost 10 years after Eric Garner died at the hands of New York City police in July 2014, his daughter is on a mission to prevent the tragedy from being repeated.

Emerald Garner spoke to students Thursday at Indiana University Northwest in Gary.

Most of the students in the audience were in grade school when Emerald Garner's father was killed. Eric Garner died after a New York police officer put him in a chokehold, a move prohibited by NYPD policy.

His death in 2014 sparked outrage and protests around the country, fueling a movement that Garner's daughter Emerald is now a part of.

"I want people to understand this is not the first time it happened," Emerald Garner said. "It wasn't the last time it happened, but we can prevent it from happening again."

Emerald Garner said her father's death had a profound impact on her family. In the cell phone video of the incident, Eric Garner can be heard saying "I can't breathe" 11 times.

His death was ruled a homicide, and the officer involved was fired from the department, but a grand jury declined criminal charges.

Garner's family received an out-of-court settlement of nearly $6 million. The experience resonates with many young Black students.

"It's scary. As a Black man, I always have to watch my P's and Q's and present myself as a professional man," student Anthony Hudson said. "If I go out there angry, that's the reputation they see me as."

"We have to be aware of the world we live in and the dangers that come with being black," student A'Reya Davis said.

Emerald Garner has written about her experiences in a book. Students lined up Thursday to get a signed copy.

Since her father's death, Garner said there have been dozens and dozens of other high profile cases of police brutality, including the death of George Floyd more than three years ago.

"The tragedy that happened to George Floyd, it was just a replay... it was a replay," Garner said.

Emerald Garner encouraged young people to get involved in the movement, and she even shared her personal phone number with them. She runs a foundation called "We can't breathe."