Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

“Erica Garner: Death By Broken Heart.”

Her name rang with similarity: Erica, Erica Garner. One could not say her name without thinking about her fallen father, Eric Garner. Eric Garner, attacked by a cop for selling loosies, single cigarettes, on a New York street, put in a choke hold, which quickly became a death hold.

His daughter took up the struggle to demand justice for her father. Erica, whom her mother lovingly called a warrior, fought for her father’s memory, of a loving man who loved his family and was murdered by an armed agent of the state.

The videotape of Eric’s killing is this chilling as it is instructive. A tall black man asked cops, “Why are they bothering him?” Cops swarm like locusts. Tall, strong. He calmly steps back, repeating his question. A short cop comes from behind, leaps on him, locks his arms in a death choke. Eric falls. His voice, hoarse with effort, comes through: “I can’t breathe.”

Erica, fighting a system stingy with justice when it came to black life, suffering from asthma, could not breathe herself, a heart attack, then coma. Erica Gardner, 27 years old, joins her beloved father, Eric, in eternity. They say she died of a heart attack. Seems to me, she died of a broken heart.

From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.