It’s been four years since “I Can’t Breathe” became a rallying cry for black Americans fed up with the systemic oppression and police brutality that permeate our society.
And after four years of anger, frustration, and unspeakable grief, Gwen Carr—the mother of Eric Garner—appears to be on the cusp of receiving long overdue justice.
NBC New York reports that Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the man responsible for the chokehold that killed Garner, will finally face a disciplinary trial in May. The decision was made today by an administrative judge at One Police Plaza in New York City.
Prior to the hearing, according to SI Live, Carr took to the steps of City Hall to speak out against the officers who were involved in her son’s death.
“We are not going to stand for this, we are out here because […] we are outraged and we are not going to take this anymore,” she said, flanked by activists and politicians. “And it’s not only for me, it’s for other New Yorkers, it’s for people around the nation, we demand justice and we haven’t gotten that yet.”
“This is a stain not only on this city, not only on the state, this is a stain Mr. Mayor, to speak in your terms, on your legacy and your reputation as an executive of the city of New York,” activist Kirsten Foy chimed in. “You will go down in history with Rudy Giuliani for his inaction on justice you will go down in history with other executives who have failed to live up to the promise of ensuring that justice is equally applied across communities.”
In a 2014 viral video that ignited the nation, Pantaleo was caught on camera putting Garner into a chokehold—an illegal maneuver that a medical examiner would later conclude contributed to Garner’s death. Prior to his death at the hands of police officers, Garner was being questioned for selling loose cigarettes.
While Garner’s family eventually received $5.9 million from the city in order to settle a wrongful death claim, Pantaleo has been assigned to desk duty since Garner’s death.
In a previous statement, one of Pantaleo’s lawyers said, “We are looking forward to our day in court to be vindicated.”