NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — The ongoing issue of police violence toward the Black community was the focus of a community conversation led by the mother of Eric Garner on Monday night.
Garner died back in 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by an NYPD officer. His final words, “I can’t breathe”, were on camera for the world to see.
Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, has been lending her voice to the movement to end unjust policing since his death. Fast forward to 2020, those same three words, “I can’t breathe”, were uttered by George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.
“I said, ‘Oh my God. They’re still killing us. That was my first thought.”
Carr sat down with News 8’s Shaynah Ferreira about her work to end police brutality. She said Floyd’s death was a painful moment of déjà vu.
“It was like an echo from the grave,” she explained. “It was like my son being murdered all over again…All I think about is the mothers and the sisters and brothers. They don’t realize what they do when they kill one of our loved ones.”
The death of her son — and countless others who have lost their lives — has fueled her pain into purpose. She said she plans to continue using her voice to make sure no other mother receives the devastating call she received in 2014.
“So, I say we go from demonstrations to legislation and legislation to reconciliation,” said Carr
Carr spoke candidly in New London about her newly released book “This Stops Today” which calls for systemic changes.
“I have to be out here doing this fight because I have to keep my son’s name alive. I don’t ever want anyone to forget the name of Eric Garner.”
New York legislators approved a ban on chokeholds in honor of Garner. If passed, the bill would criminalize the harmful use of a chokehold by a police officer and would carry a maximum sentence of 15 years.
The officer involved in Garner’s death was fired but was never formally charged.