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Gwen Carr Responds To Court Conference In Judicial Inquiry Into Eric Garner’s Killing

Once-in-a-century judicial inquiry to begin on October 25

Following a court conference in the historic judicial inquiry into Mayor de Blasio’s and other top City officials’ violations and neglect of duty related to the killing of Eric Garner, Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, the Justice Committee, and Communities United for Police Reform held a virtual media availability.

During this morning’s court conference in Carr v. de Blasio, Ms. Carr addressed the court to request the judicial inquiry be held in person, as initially anticipated. The judge denied this request, however, the judicial inquiry will move forward virtually beginning on October 25. NYS Supreme Court Justice Erika M. Edwards discussed logistics, scheduling and witnesses in the judicial inquiry during the conference.

Below is a statement from Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner in response to this morning’s court conference and the upcoming judicial inquiry:

“We have been fighting for 7 years for transparency and accountability for the murder of my son Eric Garner and the cover up that involved City officials at the highest levels. Now, we will have our day in court,” said Gwen Carr (she/her), mother of Eric Garner. “While I’m disappointed that the proceedings will be held virtually, and that some of the officers like Justin Damico who lied on official NYPD reports and Lt. Christopher Bannon who texted it was ‘not a big deal’ that my son was killed, will be able to roll out of bed and sit at their computers instead of on a witness stand, this judicial inquiry moving forward is a huge victory in itself. We will continue to call on Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD to fire all the officers responsible for murdering my son and covering it up, like Justin Damico, Lt. Christopher Bannon, Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, Sgt Saminath, Officers Furlani, Ramos and others, and for complete transparency so no other families have to go through this just to get basic answers.”


On August 27, 2019, 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, filed a historic petition regarding violations and neglect of duty by the Mayor of New York City, the NYPD Police Commissioner, and other New York City officials related to the killing of Eric Garner. The petition was brought under Section 1109 of the New York City Charter, a “sunlight” provision. The lawyers for the petitioners include Alvin Bragg of the New York Law School Racial Justice Project, the Law Offices of Gideon Oliver, and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.

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. The judicial inquiry will also examine violations and neglect of duties related to the discipline, or lack thereof, for the officers, in relation to the categories above.

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 Gwen Carr, the Justice Committee, and Communities United for Police Reform 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 City has also failed to meet discovery obligations in an order made by the court on July 23. The October 15 conference is a status conference intended to discuss pending issues before the official start of the October 25th proceeding

The judicial inquiry is currently set to begin on October 25 and is expected to last for approximately two weeks.

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