Garner's daughter: 'Not a black & white issue'

by Will Hall |

Erica Garner, in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon, shares that she doesn't believe there was any racial motivation behind police actions linked to her father's death. Daniel Pantaleo, a white officer, used a chokehold to take down Eric Garner, a black man. CNN/screen capture

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) -- Eric Garner's daughter insists the case involving her father's death is not about race, but a matter of an overzealous policeman.

In an interview on CNN, Erica Garner told anchor Don Lemon that her father's death was not "a black and white issue" but that it was a crisis. She also welcomed the diversity of people who were taking part in the protests sparked in large part by a YouTube video.

Her father, Eric Garner, a black man, died while being subdued for allegedly selling cigarettes in front of businesses in Tompkinsville on Staten Island in New York. Daniel Pantaleo, a white officer, used a chokehold from behind to take down Garner.

When pressed if there were racial overtones to the incident, she was skeptical that race was a factor.

"I really doubt it. It was about the officer's pride. It was about my father being [6 feet 4 inches] and 350 pounds, and he wants to be, you know, the top cop that brings this big man down," Garner said.

She said her father was just big and that he was not doing anything that needed force to resolve.

"He didn't have no gun. He ain't run. He ain't smack 'em. Nothing," she said.

Lemon gave her a chance to retract her first response, but Garner said she was sure.

"A lot of people would be surprised because you know this is being made out to be a racial issue, and you don't think it's about race," he said.

"Being that my dad was black and the officer was white, I mean that's different races. But as far as the situation, I can't really say it's like a really black and white issue," Garner said. "It's about, you know, the police officers and abusing their power."

When asked to share her thoughts about what her dad would want others to know, she said he would just want them to know that "he died in a horrible way, a horrible way."

She also said her dad would be proud, in spite of the visceral video of his takedown that the protests on his behalf were "going without being violent, without being, you know, burning stuff down, looting and all that." She said it was a better way "to handle problems."

Garner paused for several seconds and sighed before answering Lemon's question of whether she could forgive the officer who used a chokehold on her father.

"Eventually, I can bring myself to forgiveness. But, I will not forget what he did to my father.

"I'm sorry, I will not forget no matter, no matter, you know, how many 'sorrys' he say ... how many cards he will send ... how many tweets he'll send out," she uttered, emotionally. "Nothing's going to bring my father back. So you need to do the right thing. Admit that you was wrong, and do your time.

"I just want him to do the right thing."

She said the same is true for the rest of the officers, too.

"I want them other officers to just come forward," she added. "Admit that they was wrong, that they made a BIG mistake in their job. They wasn't professional."

Garner also hopes that other policemen "in the world" learn a lesson as well.

"This is a very serious thing. When you do stuff to kill people for no reason there's going to be consequences."