Friends, family, and strangers gathered to remember 43-year-old Eric Garner at his funeral earlier today. The Staten Island native was killed last week after an NYPD officer allegedly put him in a chokehold.
Among the hundreds of funeral attendees packed into the Brooklyn church was Rev. Al Sharpton. Sharpton delivered a moving speech at the service, during which he spoke about the wrong-doings of the officers involved and praised the onlooker who filmed the incident.
“Let’s not play games with this,” he said. “You don’t need no training to stop choking a man saying ‘I can’t breathe.’ You don’t need no cultural orientation to stop choking a man saying ‘I can’t breathe.’ You need to be prosecuted and you need to be put away.”
Garner’s sister sang during the service before his eldest daughter, one of his six children, delivered an emotionally charged speech.
“Just knowing that my daughter’s birthday is coming up — my father never missed a birthday,” she said, fighting back tears. “Only thing my daughter asked for is for her Pop-pop to bring the cake. I don’t know how to explain to her that Pop-pop this year is not bringing the cake.”
Garner’s friends and family were seen consoling one another outside the church as they watched his large white coffin be carried inside for the wake.
Earl Simms, a longtime friend of Garner’s, said he was incredibly sad to see his friend in a coffin.
“I just feel so sorry for his children,” he said. “And I hope everyone does what they can because he was a great father.”
Eric Garner was laid to rest Thursday after his friends and family privately said their goodbyes.
SOURCE: NBC New York | VIDEO CREDIT: CBS, NDN