Esaw Garner, the widow of Staten Island resident Eric Garner, does not believe her husband’s death – or the grand jury decision not indict NYPD police officer Dan Pantaleo – were racially motivated.
With Al Sharpton at her side during a Sunday appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Garner claimed the firestorm surrounding her husband’s chokehold death is not “a black and white thing.”
“I don’t even feel like it’s a black and white thing, honestly,” she told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “You know, in my opinion. I really don’t feel like it’s a black and white thing. I feel like it’s just something that he continued to do. And the police knew, you know? They knew.”
Garner went on to explain how she and her husband were ”harassed” by police for selling illegal tax-free cigarettes, claiming they “knew him by name” and would attempt to provoke him. But she made no further mention of race.
Her contention didn’t sit well with Sharpton, who hastened to explain the case’s racial angle. “She has tried to say, ‘I don’t want to deal with race as the issue,’” he said. “But clearly they treat differently. If he was of a different race with the same background — no one has tried to sugarcoat anyone’s background here — would he have been treated the same way? And that’s what we’re talking about.”