On Saturday, the world lost Erica Garner, who became one of the leading voices in the Black Lives Matter movement after her father, Eric, was killed during a struggle with police.
The 27-year-old activist suffered a heart attack last week and fell into a coma before passing away on Saturday morning. Following her heart attack, Reverend Al Sharpton gave a speech asking for prayers for the activist and saying that he’d visited her at the hospital, according to a report from the New York Daily News. During his weekly telecast, Sharpton said “the media will say Erica died of a heart attack but that’s only partially true because her heart was already broken when she couldn’t get justice for her father,” per Buzzfeed News.
Eric Garner was killed in 2014 during an altercation with police when NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold. Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement. A jury voted not to indict Pantaleo on criminal charges and he remains on the force.
Erica’s mother told the Daily News that her daughter’s heart attack was brought on by an asthma attack.
Her father’s death was one of the first major police brutality cases that brought attention to the issue. He was selling untaxed cigarettes outside of a gas station when police approached him, after a brief argument with the cops, Pantaleo put him in a chokehold that eventually killed Garner. Even more disturbing, the entire altercation was caught on video and captured the attention of the national media for weeks.
Her official Twitter account confirmed her death on Saturday and took a shot at New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio.