The eldest daughter of Eric Garner, the black man who died in 2014 after a New York City police officer placed him in a prohibited chokehold, endorsed Bernie Sanders for president on Friday.
Erica Garner wrote the endorsement in The Washington Post, saying that Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, is best positioned to “address the criminalization” of African-Americans with his “racial justice platform.”
She wrote that Sanders’ effort on combating racial injustice and inequality had started “well before campaign season,” adding that he understands our deaths as tragedies — not political talking points.”
She added: “Of all the presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders is our strongest ally. Black Americans — all Americans — need a leader with a record that speaks for itself.”
Garner, 43, died on July 17 after the NYPD attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. When he refused to be handcuffed, officers took him to the ground. During the take-down, Officer Daniel Pantaleo put one of his arms around Garner’s neck, a maneuver that the police department said is illegal.
Garner’s death was ruled a homicide by the New York City medical examiner, but the officer who restrained him in a chokehold was not indicted. The encounter was recorded by an onlooker, and his death triggered nationwide protests.
The endorsement comes a week after Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, endorsed Sander’s main rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton. Carr published her endorsement of Clinton on the candidate’s, writing that “With all the violence and injustice that’s upon us today, we need a candidate who can move us forward—that’s Hillary.”
Clinton also earned the backing of the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Jordan Davis, three black men whose high-profile killings had sparked nationwide protests and debate on race and criminal justice.
On Monday, one of Clinton’s former supporters, Justin Bamberg, switched his support to Sanders – one of the candidate’s most significant African-American endorsement yet. Bamberg is a state representative in South Carolina and a lawyer who’s representing the family of Walter Scott, the black man killed by a police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina last year. Like Garner, Bamberg lauded Sanders for his racial injustice reform platform.
Alluding to the moment last summer in Seattle when some Black Lives Matter protesters interrupted Sanders’ speech, Garner wrote he was “tested … but he heard us and I believe he’ll continue to listen.”