Officers to testify about Eric Garner’s death in long-delayed inquiry

Eric Garnersource: New York Times
published: 25 October 2021

The anguished pleas of Eric Garner as he struggled in a New York City police officer’s chokehold in 2014 galvanized millions, and his last words – “I can’t breathe,” repeated 11 times and captured on video – became a rallying cry for a protest movement demanding that police officers [should] be held accountable.

In the seven years since Mr. Garner died on a Staten Island sidewalk, the deaths of Black men and women in police custody — including some, like George Floyd, whose words in their final moments powerfully echoed Mr. Garner’s dying pleas — touched off a wave of demands for change.

Now, Mr. Garner’s death will return to public view in what may be the final milestone of the case. On Monday, a judicial inquiry into his death is set to begin, with public testimony from about a dozen witnesses, including the head of the Police Department’s internal affairs unit and several officers involved in the encounter.

The process does not directly hold the potential for new discipline or fresh settlements; the officer who choked Mr. Garner was not charged criminally but was eventually fired from the force, and Mr. Garner’s family reached a settlement with the city.

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