New York man's widow in no mood to accept police officer's apology

This article is more than 12 months old

"Hell, no."

That was the reaction of Mrs Esaw Garner, widow of Mr Eric Garner, when asked whether she will accept an apology from the police officer.

Mr Garner, 43, died in July after being placed in a chokehold by New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo while being arrested on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes on Staten Island, a borough in New York.

On Wednesday, a New York grand jury did not indict the officer, which led to protests in the city and elsewhere.

In the US, an indictment is a formal charge stating that there is enough evidence to justify a trial.

Mrs Garner said she will never accept an apology from the officer.

"He's still working, he's still getting a pay cheque, he's still feeding his kids, and my husband is six feet under," ABC News quoted her as saying.

"He should be here celebrating Christmas and Thanksgiving and everything else with his children and grandchildren. And he can't. Why? Because a cop did wrong," she said at a news conference arranged by Reverend Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and minister.

"Who is going to play Santa Claus for my grandkids?" she asked.

After returning home from the press conference, the widow compared her husband's death "to a modern day lynching", New York Daily News reported.

As for the grand jury, she said, "They had to get 12 to agree and they probably got 12 white m*****f*****s to say no."

Hours earlier, she told The News that the disturbing video of her husband in the clutches of a fatal police chokehold should have been enough for an indictment.

"I'm very disappointed," she said, her voice rising with shock and anger. "You can see in the video that (the cop) was dead wrong!"

The doomed dad of six children could be heard in the video saying 11 times "I can't breathe."

Mrs Garner said the "fight has just begun", adding: "I'm determined to get justice for my husband. As long as I have a breath in my body, I will fight the fight to the end".

Soon after the grand jury decision, hundreds of protesters converged on Rockefeller Center and in New York City's Times Square chanting "No justice, no peace."

This was the rallying cry of demonstrators already angered by a grand jury decision last week not to indict a white policeman in the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Drivers stuck in traffic by the march sounded their horns in solidarity, the paper said.


Both cases, coupled with the death of a 12-year-old black boy who was gunned down by police officers in Ohio while handling a toy pistol in a playground, have reignited a longstanding debate in the United States about relations between law enforcement and African-Americans, and accusations of overly aggressive policing.

Demonstrator Susan Schneider told AFP: "The police have impunity. They can run away with whatever they do. And when you see them on the streets, how they are equipped, it's like war. It's worse than in the 60s. The racism is stronger now."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he spoke with US Attorney-General Eric Holder and that the Justice Department is pushing ahead with its own probe of Mr Pantaleo's actions.

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