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‘Hell No!’: Eric Garner’s Widow Rejects Officer’s Condolences

Protests continue around the country tonight after yesterday's grand jury decision NOT to indict the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York. What separated this killing from other killings of Black women, men and children by cops is that the entire encounter was filmed, and shared with the public shortly after it happened.

So in this case, even people who are otherwise inclined to think the worst of African American women, men and children - and who are inclined to give all or most cops the benefit of the doubt - were forced to acknowledge the absolute terror experienced by Eric Garner in his relationship with the police, and what by many of us appears to be their sheer lack of regard for his life.

Following the most recent failure of this nation's justice system, the Garner family reacted to the grand jury decision, and the 'statement of condolence' issued by the officer who killed Eric Garner.

The reaction by Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, to a questioner seeking her reaction to the officer's statement is a moving example of the power of the human spirit to stand up with clarity about such an injustice, and the crisis their family was thrown into by Officer Pantaleo in particular, and the NYPD more generally.

I have tremendous admiration for the family's courage, and their steadfastness, which we all must support and model.

From a related article at Huffington Post...

The family of Eric Garner addressed the nation Wednesday after a grand jury announced its decision not to indict an NYPD officer in Garner's death.

Garner, a Staten Island man who had asthma, died on July 17 after Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed him in a prohibited police chokehold during an arrest. Police suspected Garner, who was black, of selling untaxed cigarettes on the sidewalk. The incident was captured on video, where Garner can be heard repeatedly telling officers "I can't breathe!" before his body goes limp.

At a press conference Wednesday at the Harlem headquarters of the National Action Network, the advocacy group founded by Al Sharpton, Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, and his mother, Gwen Carr, expressed their disappointment with the grand jury's decision and their frustration that Pantaleo would not be held accountable by a court.

Esaw Garner became visibly angry when asked if she accepted the remorse Pantaleo expressed earlier that day. In a statement, Pantaleo offered his condolences to the family and said he never intended to harm Garner.

"Hell no!" Garner replied. "The time for remorse would have been when my husband was yelling to breathe."

"No, I don't accept his apology. No, I could care less about his condolences," she continued. "He's still working. He's still getting a paycheck. He's still feeding his kids, when my husband is six feet under and I'm looking for a way to feed my kids now."

"Who's going to play Santa Claus for my grandkids this year?" she said. "Who's going to play Santa Claus?"

And a video clip from the news conference, at ABCNews...

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