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Gwen Carr And Organizers Respond To Court Conference In Judicial Inquiry Into Eric Garner’s Killing

New York, NY – Today, following a public court conference in the historic judicial inquiry into the NYPD killing of Eric Garner and subsequent cover up, Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner,  Communities United for Police Reform, the Justice Committee and other petitioners in the case are calling on Mayor de Blasio to fire all the NYPD officers responsible and stop hiding critical information ordered in the judicial inquiry.

Below are statements from Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner and Loyda Colon, Executive Director of the Justice Committee, responding to today’s conference on discovery and witnesses, before NYS Supreme Court Justice Erika M. Edwards.

“This Wednesday we will be celebrating what should have been Eric's 51st birthday and I'm still fighting to get basic answers about other officers who should have been fired for his murder,” said Gwen Carr (she/her), mother of Eric Garner. “The NYPD murdered my son and his killing set off a movement. It’s been 7 years and many of the cops who helped kill him and cover it up were never fired - making them a danger to other New Yorkers. The corruption and lack of transparency around the refusal of the NYPD to fire and discipline police goes all the way to the top of city government. I know that Mayor de Blasio and top-level NYPD were involved in decisions about the scope of investigations, blocking formal charges from being served and acted on in a timely way, and whether to discipline officers. But Mayor de Blasio's lawyers keep trying to shrink the scope of what this judicial inquiry, that we won, will cover. Justin Damico, Lt Christopher Bannon and others should have been fired, but continue to be protected because protecting them also protects NYPD brass and the Mayor. We'll have our day in court and I hope the city's tricks don't confuse the public into thinking that investigations are the same as discipline because we all know that's not true, especially when it comes to the NYPD killing our children." 

“It's despicable that after 7 years and a global movement for Eric Garner and others killed by police, Mayor de Blasio and his lawyers are still playing legal games to hide the cover-ups and protect cops who lie, help kill and refuse to intervene when a man is being killed by a fellow cop - and just as important, they're using legal tricks to hide the role the Mayor and politics played at every step of the fight for justice for Eric in the past 7 years", said Loyda Colon (they/them), spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and Executive Director of the Justice Committee. “We're outraged at the City's cynical attempts to mislead the public about the NYPD's discipline system and hide the role of higher ups at City Hall and the NYPD in failing New Yorkers. Mayor de Blasio and his staff need to stop obstructing this judicial inquiry, and fire all the officers who engaged in misconduct, including NYPD Officer Justin Damico, Lt. Christopher Bannon, Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, Sgt Saminath, Officers Furlani, Ramos and others.”

NEXT STEPS: There will be another court conference on October 15, ahead of the judicial inquiry which is set to begin on October 25, 2021.


On August 27, 2019, the New York Law School Racial Justice Project and the Law Offices of Gideon Oliver filed a historic petition on behalf of Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, Ellisha Flagg-Garner, sister of Eric Garner, Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham, Loyda Colon of Justice Committee, Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform, Monifa Bandele of Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Mark Winston Griffith of Brooklyn Movement Center, and Kesi Foster of Make the Road New York, against the Mayor of New York City, the NYPD Police Commissioner, and other New York City officials. The petition was brought under Section 1109 of the New York City Charter, a “sunlight” provision.

After the City moved to dismiss the lawsuit, Justice Joan A. Madden issued a decision on September 24, 2020, allowing a judicial inquiry to move forward with respect to alleged violations and neglect of duty in connection with: (1) the stop, arrest, and use of force against Mr. Garner; (2) the filing of false official documents concerning Mr. Garner's arrest; (3) the leaking of Mr. Garner's alleged arrest history and medical condition in the autopsy report; and (4) the alleged lack of medical care provided to Mr. Garner by police officers.

Unhappy with the court’s decision, the City tried to block the petition by filing a notice of appeal and by attempting to argue that there was an automatic stay to all further proceedings before the Supreme Court while the City’s appeal was pending. In December 2020, Justice Madden rejected the City’s arguments, allowing proceedings related to the inquiry to move forward, unless the City won a stay from an appeals court. 

On February 12, 2021, the City filed a motion with the Appellate Division, First Department, the appeals court, seeking to stay the judicial inquiry. On March 23, 2021, the First Department denied this request. The First Department heard the appeal on May 25, 2021 and the Appellate Division, First Department denied the appeal on July 15, 2021.  

Following Justice Madden’s retirement from the bench, Justice Erika M. Edwards was assigned to preside over the case.

In addition to the petition brought under Section 1109, the petitioners submitted a Freedom of Information Law request to the NYPD and the Civilian Complaint Review Board relating to Mr. Garner’s arrest and killing, to which the City has not yet provided full disclosures. The September 13 conference discussed discovery obligations, witnesses, and next steps in the case. 

The judicial inquiry is currently set to begin on October 25, there will be an additional court conference prior to the judicial inquiry on October 15.

About Communities United for Police Reform

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory and abusive policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.

Topics: Eric Garner