Esaw Snipes, the widow of NYPD choking victim, Eric Garner, whose last words repeated the refrain, “I can’t breathe,” recently moved into a dream home, but of course, remains bittersweet that her husband and daughter could not be there to share it with her.
“I have this home but it’s missing my husband; it’s missing my daughter,” Esaw said to the New York Daily News. “I wish that my daughter was here because all she kept saying was, ‘Mom, you need to get a house, so if anything happens to you, we’ll always have a place to call home.’”
But Esaw Snipes is still alive, while her husband, Eric, and daughter, Erica, are not.
In recompense for Eric Garner’s death, which occurred four summers ago (on July 17, 2014), Esaw Snipes received about $1.4 million in a wrongful death settlement with the city of New York (the family, including his mother and children, split a $5.9 million payout.)
The daughter of whom Esaw spoke of above is Erica Garner, who consistently raged against the machine (the mayor, the police, the justice department, even President Obama) after her father’s death and who tragically died herself in December at age 27, after suffering a massive heart attack.
“She’s not able to be here to share this with me, but I know she’s watching and I know her children are happy and that’s what my main goal is — just to be happy,” Snipes added. The News reports that she and her daughter Emerald Snipes share custody of Erica’s daughter Alyssa, 9, and 11-month-old son Eric Julian.
As for her husband Eric, Esaw laments, “We wanted to have a home to watch our grandchildren grow up and for us to grow old together. That was our plan.”
In an exclusive interview, the News reports that Snipes decided not to attend a rally held outside City Hall on Tuesday, calling on the mayor to bring departmental charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who used a baton on Garner’s neck on the day of his death in 2014.
“I don’t want to be relevant anymore,” Snipes said. “I just want to live my life, raise my grandchildren and let them see something different than New York City projects and shootings.”
Esaw said that Eric once said that he would always take care of her, which, through his tragic death, he did.
“I have to credit this to my husband,” the 50-year-old widow said of the single-family home in an undisclosed location. “He said from Day One, ‘I will always take care of you,’ and even through death he’s taking care of me.”
“His mind, spirit and soul are always going to be with me,” she added. “I just have to keep his memory alive and keep talking about him, showing the babies his pictures.”