Erica Garner in 2015
Amanda Meyers / AP
Erica Garner, who became an activist following her father's death after being arrested by a cop who put him in a chokehold, died on Saturday after having a heart attack at the age of 27.
Her verified Twitter account tweeted, “She passed away this morning. The reports are real. We didn't deserve her.” And Rev. Al Sharpton said on saturday morning that Garner's mother, Esaw, called him at 6:15 a.m. to say she died.
“The media will say Erica died of a heart attack but that’s only partially true because her heart was already broken when she couldn’t get justice for her father,” Sharpton said at his weekly telecast. “In her memory we will keep fighting for justice.”
The person running Garner's account wouldn't previously identify themselves, and BuzzFeed News wasn't immediately able to confirm the news. Activist Shaun King, who has been in touch with the Garner family, also said she died.
The mother of two and oldest daughter of Eric Garner had a heart attack last week and was hospitalized over the weekend. Her official Twitter account had said that she was in a coma.
Garner became an advocate and organizer following her father's death in 2014 in Staten Island after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold for about 15 seconds while arresting him.
A NYPD officer in plainclothes had approached Eric Garner on suspicion of selling untaxed, single cigarettes. The incident was filmed by a witness and the 43-year-old man, who had asthma, could be heard saying “I can't breathe” eleven times while being held on the ground. The video was widely shared and sparked nationwide protests, with Garner's last words becoming a rallying cry for Black Lives Matter activists.
A case against the arresting officer, Daniel Pantaleo, who is white, went to a grand jury, but he was not indicted, leading to even more protests.
Erica Garner, center, with grandmother Gwen Carr, left, her sister Emerald Snipes, second from right, and Eric Garner's widow, Esaw Snipes
Mary Altaffer / AP
Following her father's death, Erica Garner became an outspoken activist fighting against police brutality. She held vigils and twice-a-week “die-ins” on Staten Island in memory of her father, in which protesters marched to the spot where he was put in the fatal chokehold.
“I feel the love and energy from around the world, but on Staten Island it’s been emotionless,” Erica Garner told the New York Daily News in 2014 after a bi-weekly demonstration in front of the store where cops approached her father.
“I felt his spirit when I was walking down to the spot,” she said. “I’ve been doing this every Tuesday and Thursday since my father’s death. I do it without cameras there. I do it with cameras there, and I’m going to keep doing it.”
Erica Garner criticized New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not doing enough, writing in a Huffington Post blog post on the one-year anniversary of her father's death that Cuomo would likely not keep up the battle for civil rights.
“Sure, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed a special prosecutor to investigate police-related killings after my father’s death,” she wrote in the post. “What’s the likelihood that this appointment — which only lasts one year — will be renewed by the Republican controlled state legislature?”
She also criticized Staten Island’s then-District Attorney Daniel Donovan for giving immunity to the other officers involved in her father's death, as well as noting that the borough's new district attorney, Daniel Master, could convene another grand jury to indict Pantaleo, but had no intentions to do so.
After the grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo, the Department of Justice launched an independent investigation, which is ongoing.
Her account also criticized New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Saturday: “de Blasio … explain how she died with no justice.”