The family of Eric Garner, the unarmed black man whose death following what has been described as a police chokehold touched off days of protests when the officer was not indicted, said Saturday they were overwhelmed by the massive demonstrations.
"It is just so awesome to see how the crowds are out there,” Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said at a rally Saturday. "People who I never would have met or never would have known … they are out there. They are standing for my son."
Thousands of demonstrators have turned out in New York City each night following Wednesday’s decision by a grand jury not to indict white police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Garner, 43, on July 17.
The words Garner gasped as he was being restrained — "I can’t breathe" — have become a rallying cry in protests against excessive force by police, and have inspired protests in other cities across the country. Demonstrations continued Saturday with hundreds staging another "die-in" in Grand Central Terminal.
There were also protests against police brutality Saturday in Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., Washington, D.C., and other cities. In a mostly peaceful demonstration in Berkeley, California, some protesters turned violent and threw rocks and other projectiles at officers, according to the Berkeley Police Department. One officer suffered minor injuries during the demonstration. In Seattle, seven were arrestedduring protests involving several hundred people.
Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner, said she looked down at the protests in New York from the 19th floor of a building and wept. "I see all these people yelling out, 'Eric Garner, Eric Garner,' you know, everything," she said at the rally held by the National Action Network.
"I’m just like overwhelmed," she said. "I start crying. My son is like, 'You all right mom?' I’m like, 'Yeah I’m OK, but look at all the love that your father’s getting.'"
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