(Reuters) – Erica Garner, the daughter of a New York man whose death during an attempted arrest helped spark the “Black Lives Matter” movement against police brutality, died on Saturday, a posting on her official Twitter account showed.
Garner, 27, suffered a heart attack triggered by an asthma attack a week ago, family members told the New York Daily News.
She became an activist against police brutality after the July 2014 death of her father, Eric Garner. The 43-year-old father of six died while New York City officers were attempting to arrest him on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes. Eric Garner also suffered from asthma.
“If anything, (what) she would want us to do in memory of her is keep fighting for justice, and keep fighting for families,” said civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton in a video posted online. Sharpton became an adviser to Eric Garner’s family after his death.
Erica Garner often wore clothing emblazoned with “I can’t breathe,” the words her father wheezed when an officer allegedly put him in a chokehold while trying to subdue him.
That phrase became a rallying cry during protests across the United States in 2014 against police brutality, particularly against black people.
The New York Police Department has banned the use of chokeholds on suspects for more than two decades, but decided against indicting Daniel Pantaleo, the white officer who sought to subdue Garner. Activists say the prosecutor in the case, a Republican, was not aggressive enough in seeking the indictment.
A video of the incident went viral on social media in the days after it occurred in front of a beauty parlor in one of New York City’s five boroughs, Staten Island.
After the grand jury’s decision, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association union released a statement from Pantaleo saying he never intended to harm Eric Garner and felt bad about his death.
Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Editing by Matthew Lewis