Her name rang with similarity. Erica, Erica Garner.
One could not say her name without thinking about her fallen father, Eric Garner. Eric Garner, attacked by a cop for selling loosies — single cigarettes — on a New York street. Put in a chokehold, which quickly became a death-hold.
His daughter took up the struggle to demand justice for her father. Erica, whom her mother lovingly called a warrior, fought for her father’s memory of a loving man, who loved his family and was murdered by an armed agent of the state.
The videotape of Eric’s killing is as chilling as it is instructive: A black man asks cops why are they bothering him. Cops swarm like locusts. Tall, strong, he calmly steps back, repeating his question. A short cop comes from behind, leaps on him, locks his arms in a death-choke. Eric falls. His voice, hoarse with effort, comes through, “I can’t breathe.”
Erica, fighting a system stingy with justice when it came to black life, suffering from asthma, could not breathe herself. A heart attack, then coma, and Erica Garner, 27-years-old, joins her beloved father, Eric, in eternity.
They say she died of a heart attack. Seems to me she died of a broken heart.
From a prison nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Mumia’s words appear at indypendent.org courtesy of Prison Radio.
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Photo: Erica Garner leads a march demanding justice for her father, July 17, 2016. Credit: Peter Rugh.