As determined protesters swarmed Times Square and the West Side Highway Wednesday night, emotions ran high up in Harlem. The Rev. Al Sharpton held a press conference at the National Action Network headquarters, allowing Eric Garner's family to break their silence on the grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, and his mother, Gwen Carr, sent a message to the community at large: we will "keep on fighting" for justice.
Fighting back tears, Esaw Garner said she refuses to accept Pantaleo's condolences, which he delivered to the family via a written statement earlier on Wednesday. "Hell no," Esaw Garner said. "He's still working...and my husband is six feet under."
She added that her husband "shouldn't have been killed in any way," and vowed to get justice for her husband's death:
This fight ain't over, it's just begun. I'm determined to get justice for my husband. He should be here celebrating Christmas with his children and his grandchildren. As long as I have a breath in my body, I will fight.
When asked about Pantaleo sending his apologies to the Garner family, and how the police officer was showing a glimmer of remorse, Esaw Garner said, "The time for remorse should have been when my husband was yelling to breathe."
Later in the press conference, Gwen Carr took to the podium to express her disappointment in the grand jury's decision. She specifically addressed the harrowing video that has been played on every major news network — Eric Garner, with his hands up, being grabbed from behind and pushed to the ground. In the video, Eric Garner can be heard saying, "I can't breathe," 11 times.
I am truly disappointed in the grand jury's decision this evening. I don't know what video they were looking at it wasn't the same one that the rest of the world was looking at. How could we put our trust in the justice system when they fail us like this?
His mother reiterated the family's call for protesters to make a peaceful statement. "We want you to rally, but rally in peace," Carr said. Sharpton, who's also been on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri, over the last several months with the family of Michael Brown, repeated what he's been saying a lot recently between the streets of Ferguson to the sidewalks of Staten Island: "It could be your child next."The reverend continued:
We will continue? We must continue. All of our protests, we will not have violence, or inflict pain on others. Eric Garner was not doing anything violent, Michael Brown did not do anything violent.
Image: screenshot/ABC News, Getty Images