Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, marches during a rally against police violence on Aug. 23, 2014, in the Staten Island borough of New York City.
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s part in Eric Garner’s death may not have been a race issue as much as a size issue, the Garner family said in interviews with CNN.

Erica Garner, the daughter of the deceased Staten Island father of six who was killed, in part, by a banned choke hold, said that it was the size discrepancy between the two men that really fueled the incident. “It was about the officer’s pride, it was about my father being 6-4 and 350 pounds, and he wanted to be the top cop that brings this big man down,” the grieving daughter told CNN’s Don Lemon Thursday night.


In another interview with CNN, Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, agreed with that sentiment. “If you look at Pantaleo, he’s a little man, and he sneaked up behind my son and grabbed him, which he didn’t have to do. … My son was no threat at that time. … He’s talking to them, but he has his hands up at all times.

“They know that he wasn’t going to try to attack them or anything,” she continued. “[Pantaleo] wanted to be a hero, and he went behind him and put him in a choke hold and brought him down, and then he wouldn’t let him go as my son begged for his life. He still held on, so it was like a thrill kill.”

Watch at CNN.