Eric Garner Last Words "I Can't Breathe" Become Unifying Symbol of Protests

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 4: Michaela Pecot (L) and Ellie Ryan, both of Oakland, make signs prior to a march on the second night of demonstrations following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 4, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Source: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images News/Getty Images

After a Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, protesters have flooded streets across the nation to show their disgust. The entire scuffle between Garner and the NYPD was caught on tape, and you can audibly hear Garner say repeatedly "I can't breathe." Pantaleo even testified during the grand jury hearing that he heard Garner say it 11 times, but never let up on his grip. The same way "Hands Up Don't Shoot" defined Ferguson protests over the death of Michael Brown Jr., "I Can't Breathe" has come to symbolize these protests against police brutality in the chokehold killing of Eric Garner. See our nation come together over these powerful words.

New York City Protest

Protests started in New York on December 3, immediately after a Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

Los Angeles Protest

Protests quickly spread across the nation to Los Angeles and other major cities, where police brutality is still a hot-button issue.

New York City

This protest photo from August 23 in Staten Island shows that “I Can’t Breathe” has been a part of the conversation around Eric Garner for months.

New York City Protest

A woman lies down on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan in peaceful protest of the non-indictment in the death of Eric Garner.

New York City Protest

Many protesters empathize with the recent deaths and even hint that they, too, could face discrimination and police brutality based solely on the color of their skin.

New York Daily News Front Cover

Local tabloid, The New York Daily News, opted into the conversation with its poignant cover the day after the non-indictment Eric Garner news.

New York City Protest

Anguished protesters rally on Dec. 3 in the wake of the gran jury decision.

New York City Protest

Other common protest themes are #BlackLivesMatter and “Stop Killing Us,” also seen here during a New York protest on December 3.

Philadelphia Protest

Protesters in Philadelphia gathered during the city’s Christmas Tree lighting as well to protest no criminal charges being brought against Officer Pantaleo.

New York City, Day 2

For a second day, massive crowds took to the streets around New York City. The crowds shouted repeatedly “I Can’t Breathe” as they marched.

Washington, D.C. Protest, Day 2

Protests continued for a second day, and signs saying “I Can’t Breathe” were everywhere.

New York City Protest, Day 2

Uproar over the decision not to indict Officer Pantaleo was just as strong on a second day of protests in New York City.

Boston Protest, Day 2

Thousands of protesters assembled at the State House steps in Boston, Mass. on Dec. 4.

Oakland Protest, Day 2

Protests over Eric Garner’s death stretch across the nation and into California on Dec. 4.

Boston Protest, Day 2

#ICantBreathe becomes a topic of conversation and protest for a second day on Dec. 4.

Boston Protest, Day 2

Protesters clash with police in Boston on Dec. 4.