Skip to Content

‘I’m determined to get justice’: Eric Garner’s mother and widow speak

December 4, 2014

"This fight ain't over. It's just begun. I'm determined to get justice for my husband," Esaw Garner said Wednesday, "because he shouldn't have been killed in that way. He shouldn't have been killed in any way."

Garner spoke at a news conference hours after a grand jury declined to issue charges in the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while being taken into police custody on a sidewalk this past July. New York's medical examiner has ruled the incident a homicide.

When asked if she would accept an apology from Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold during the arrest that killed him, Garner answered, "Hell no."

"I could care less about his condolences," Garner later said. "He's still working, he's still getting a paycheck, he's still feeding his kids. And my husband is 6 feet under, and I'm looking for a way to feed my kids now."

She later asked, "Who's gonna play Santa Claus for my grandkids this year?"

Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, also spoke about the killing that quickly became headline news after a bystander's video of the fatal arrest was posted online.

"I don't know what video they were looking at," Carr said. "Evidently it wasn't the same one that the rest of the world was looking at."

Saying the police had failed the public, she later added, "we've got to make this right," and said she was pleased that Attorney General Eric Holder had told them that the federal government is stepping in with its own investigation.

Carr also called for people to protest the jury's decision — but to do so in a peaceful manner.

"This thing is just breaking my heart, just pulling me apart," she said.

Garner and Carr spoke after the Rev. Al Sharpton announced a national march on Washington, D.C., scheduled for Dec. 13.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

CPR News Investigation

Colorado has the country's 5th highest rate for fatal law enforcement shootings. CPR News created and analyzed a database of every shooting in which a suspect was injured or killed in the past six years. The database offers insight into trends that has surprised people throughout the criminal justice system.

Donate Your Car To CPR

Fuel the music and radio programs you love and the journalism you rely on. Donate your car to Colorado Public Radio. CPR gratefully accepts donations of most vehicles (even if hasn't run in years!) Your donation is tax deductible. Learn more.