Gwen Carr provided an emotional opening statement during the House Judiciary Committee’s oversight hearing on policing practices.
Carr, the mother of Eric Garner who died in New York from a police chokehold in 2014, recounted how police officers had approached her son outside of a grocery store on Staten Island.
Inexplicably, Officer Daniel Pantaleo wrestled Garner to the ground and used an illegal chokehold that eventually led to Garner’s death.
“Five years ago, my beloved son Eric was murdered by people who were supposed to serve and protect,” Carr told the bipartisan group of lawmakers.
“Eric cried out 11 times, ‘I can’t breathe.’ But those officers on the scene that day didn’t seem to care,” she said. “How come no one was held accountable?”
Carr said Garner’s death had devastated her family.
It also led to the fatal heart attack suffered by Garner’s sister, Erica, who died of a heart attack in 2017, Carr said.
“She died of a broken heart,” Carr said.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), told Carr that the criminal justice system failed her and her family.
“Shockingly, the officer responsible for placing Mr. Garner in a departmentally-banned chokehold remained on the force for five years before finally being fired this past August,” Nadler said.
The chairman also asked that his colleagues in Congress look for measures that would prevent police officers from escaping punishment.
“There needs to be better information on the use of force and better proposals to end racial profiling and to restore trust between law enforcement and the community,” Nadler said.
The hearing focused on the role of the federal government in addressing concerns about illegal practices, enhancing accountability, and in developing 21st-century policing practices.
During the session, the Rev. Al Sharpton joined Carr and others to call on Congress to pass legislation to set a federal standard for excessive use of force.
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Source: Black Press USA