Protests over the killing of George Floyd are putting other African-American victims of police violence back in the spotlight, including Gwen Carr — mother to the late, Eric Garner who died six years ago in New York City after a cop kept him in a chokehold, and repeated the words "I can't breathe" 11 times while lying face down on the sidewalk. Carr spoke to TMZ on Saturday, saying that she doubts Officer Derek Chauvin will be brought to justice for his part in Floyd's death. However, she said she would love to be proven wrong.
Chauvin was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. On Monday, he was detaining Floyd on suspicion of forging a $20 bill, and he knelt on the man's neck for nearly nine minutes until he died. For many Black Lives Matter activists, it was eerily similar to the death of Garner in 2014, when he was choked to death by police in New York City.
Carr issued a public warning to Floyd's family, telling them not to count on justice through the legal system for Chauvin. Having been in a similar situation, she believes it is unlikely that Chauvin will be convicted. She further speculated how it was a political move when the Minneapolis Police Department fired, then arrested Chauvin. She also said that she understands the frustration of people across the country protesting this week, but she hopes the violent outbursts and riots amid the demonstrations will stop.
Carr recalled that she thought it would be easy for the cop that killed her son, Daniel Pantaleo, to be convicted, since the whole thing was caught on camera. However, a Richmond County grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo, and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to bring criminal charges against him under federal civil rights laws as well. Pantaleo was fired from the NYPD in August of 2019 following a prolonged internal investigation.
Carr advised the Floyd family to make their voices heard at this moment, particularly if they can get the attention of any lawmakers. She said that they should not grieve from the sidelines during this time. Garner's daughter, Emerald, added that she believes the solution is to write specific laws pertaining to police violence against unarmed African-American people.
Floyd is survived by two daughters — one 6 and one 22-year-old. Both remain in his previous home city of Houston, Texas. Floyd had worked as a security guard before the coronavirus pandemic, even working at the same night club as Officer Chauvin for about a year. Organizers have stated their intention to continue protesting over Floyd's death in the coming days.