Erica Garner Seeks Answers One Year After Grand Jury

Dec 3, 2015

Eric Garner's daughter Erica Garner (center) speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, July 14, 2015, in New York.
Credit (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

It was a year ago today that a grand jury on Staten Island declined to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo for putting Eric Garner into a chokehold that led to his death. Garner’s daughter Erica said she believes that has led to more police brutality.

"When Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted it set the tone for so many officers across the country that they can kill us and get away with it" she said.

After Eric Garner’s death, Erica Garner and other family members of civilians killed by police in New York said local prosecutors worked too closely with police to investigate cases of police brutality. The families wanted police brutality to be investigated by a statewide special prosecutor instead. They successfully pressured Governor Andrew Cuomo to write an Executive Order, and appoint a temporary special prosecutor for one year. Now, Erica Garner says she wants that special prosecutor to be permanent.

"It’s not enough," she said. "Even though we got the executive order, it’s only temporary."

Garner said she wants New York legislators to pass a law to make the special prosecutor position permanent. She said if they don’t do that, Cuomo has promised to sign another executive order keeping the special prosecutor for another year. Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

A month after Eric Garner's death, the U.S. Department of Justice launched its own investigation into his death. Erica Garner said she wants answers from that investigation now.

"We just need that closure we need to finally get answers so my dad can rest in peace, peacefully," she said. "They promised my family that they would investigate and that’s the answer that I’m looking for. We haven’t got anything."

The DOJ said that the investigation could take months. Calls to the department about the status of the investigation were not immediately returned.