Erica Garner, activist daughter of NY police chokehold victim, dies at 27

  • Activist Erica Garner, daughter of New York police chokehold victim Eric Garner, in an August 9, 2015, file image in Ferguson, Mo. Erica Garner died on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, following a heart attack a week prior. She was 27. (Raffe Lazarian/Zuma Press/TNS) Raffe Lazarian

Published: 1/1/2018 11:12:19 PM

NEW YORK — The daughter of police chokehold victim Eric Garner died in Brooklyn Saturday morning, her family said.

Erica Garner, 27, had been fighting for her life since a heart attack a week ago, family members said.

“She was a warrior, she was a fighter and we didn’t pull the plug on her,” said Esaw Snipes, Garner’s mother. “She left on her own terms.”

Family members were told that Garner’s condition was dire earlier in the week, but they allowed the young woman to keep fighting at the behest of the Black Lives Matter advocate’s 8-year-old daughter.

“She said to her grandmother, Esaw, that ‘I want you all to give her time,’” the Rev. Al Sharpton said Saturday. “She sensed anew that there was the question whether to pull the plug, as they say, or whether to give her time. She said ‘Could you just wait and give her some time’ — an 8-year-old girl.”

The family readily agreed.

“We’re going to give her time for you,” Snipes told her granddaughter, Sharpton said.

“They decided to wait, even though they were told there was very little brain activity even the day before yesterday,” Sharpton said.

Her father Eric Garner’s pleas of “I can’t breathe!” in July 2014 as he was put into a chokehold by police officer Daniel Pantaleo — a tactic the New York Police Department had banned — helped spark the Black Lives Matter movement and spurred his daughter to become an advocate against police brutality.

“Erica Garner’s death is a horrible tragedy,” Mayor Bill de Blasio posted on Twitter. “I am praying for her family, who have already been through so much. This city will miss her unshakable sense of justice and passion for humanity.”

The NAACP also posted condolences, thanking Garner for “taking a stand when so may others sat” and “leading the charge when so many others faded into the background.”

“Your voice inspired many at age 27,” the NAACP said. “We will NEVER let them forget you.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called Garner — who was seen in his presidential campaign commercials — “a fighter for justice.”

“I was inspired by the commitment she made working towards a more just world for her children and future generations,” he said on Twitter.

When Garner’s son was born in August, she named him after her father.

Garner had her first heart attack shortly after delivering her son, with doctors saying the pregnancy stressed her already enlarged heart.

Garner has been in a coma since Dec. 23, when an asthma attack triggered the second heart attack, relatives said.

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