Eric Garner’s daughter Erica remembers her dad as a fun prankster. “One time he had live crabs, and that was the first time that we had live crabs, and he chased us around the house with the crab. We [were] terrified,” she recalls in a video just released by AJ+.
It’s been exactly one year since Garner, a 43-year-old Staten Island dad, was killed by a New York City police officer who put him in a chokehold over the illegal sale of loose cigarettes. His family sat down to share their lasting memories of him.
“I can never get those images out my head and the fact that he was crying out that he ‘can't breathe,’ and I struggle with asthma also,” Erica says in the video, “for a while in the beginning when I used to have asthma attacks I was afraid to go to the hospital or afraid to call the EMS workers because I would think they would figure out who I am and not help me.”
The fear that Erica Garner felt is echoed by many black Americans today, but still the validity of that fear is openly debated in the various comments sections and on news channels around the world. Erica has become an activist, leading marches and making statements on behalf of her father and other black Americans who have been the victims of excessive police force.
Still, it’s the memories that persist for the Garner family. One of the most enduring anecdotes comes from his widow, Esaw Garner. While she was cooking the morning of his death. “He said, ‘Oh, that sounds good.’ And I said, ‘Anything sounds good to you, fat boy,’ because that was my nickname for him. He had gained so much weight in the last couple of years so I used to call him ‘fat boy’. Then he looked at me and say, 'What? You ain't no small potatoes.” [Laughs]
“I said 'love you' and he said, 'Right back at you,' and then he drove off and that was the last thing he said to me.”