“Six years ago today, Eric Garner’s life was tragically taken by an NYPD officer using a chokehold to arrest him. He was not the first Black person we’ve lost to unwarranted police violence, and he was certainly not the last. But on this day, to commemorate his life, it’s important to recognize exactly who we lost that day.
“Eric was a son, a father, a husband, a brother, a cousin, a grandfather, a friend, and a New Yorker. He was a loving man who dressed up as Santa at Christmas to make his family smile. Those who knew and loved him have not been the same since his murder and never will be.
“When we say Black lives matter, we say it for Eric Garner, his family, and all the Eric Garners across the country whose lives were needlessly cut short in mind. We say it for the loved ones they leave behind, whose lives are forever altered by their absence including Gwen Carr. She continues to meet unimaginable grief with incomparable grace, becoming a national champion of a movement that is changing the world every day. That’s why we can’t say that Black lives matter without committing to reforming the systems that take so many Black lives over and over.
“The New York City Council has worked to honor Eric Garner’s memory, including criminalizing chokeholds, but it’s not enough and took too long. We have much more to do to reform the NYPD. Every New Yorker has the right to feel safe, be treated with respect, and to demand that the officers who serve their communities do so equally, regardless of their race.
“Today, we recommit to the work of reimagining public safety, in the name of Eric Garner and all those who have been brutalized by a criminal justice system in dire need of transformation.”