For a while I’ve said that one of the biggest problems we currently face in this country when discussing racial issues is that whenever a national story involving possible racism dominates the news, usually one of the first faces you see is Al Sharpton making sure that he gets as much camera time as possible. And no matter how you feel about Sharpton, it’s undeniable that he’s a very divisive figure. Even quite a few within the African American community view him as an opportunist.
He’s just not someone who’s ever going to bring people together. In fact, his involvement usually only divides us further.
That being said, in my opinion, Eric Garner’s daughters would be great leaders for this movement to hold bad cops accountable. And while I have absolutely no idea if they have any desire to dedicate themselves to “lead” in this debate, what I’ve seen thus far from these remarkable young women has been fantastic.
First, there was Erica Garner who, while millions of Americans (including Sharpton) insisted that her father’s death was about race, had the courage to come out and say that she didn’t believe her father’s death had anything to do with his race. Instead, she said her father is dead because of pride and insecurity of the officer who used a chokehold on him.
I found her comments so remarkable because she wasn’t buying into the “this is all about race” narrative that had been continually pushed since her father’s death. Her take on why the officer used such force on her father, at least in my opinion, made much more sense based on evidence. “It was about the officer’s pride,” she said. “It was about my father being 6’4″ and 350 pounds and he wants to be the top cop that brings a big man down.”
And now we have Eric Garner’s other daughter, Emerald Garner, visiting the memorial setup for the two NYPD police officers who were ambushed and murdered. She told reporters that she went there to let the families of the slain officers know that her family stands with them.
“I just had to come out and let their family know that we stand with them, and I’m going to send my prayers and condolences to all the families who are suffering through this tragedy,” Garner said. “I was never anti-police. Like I said before, I have family that’s in the NYPD that I’ve grown up around, family reunions and everything so my family you know, we’re not anti-police.”
These are the voices that should be leading the call for justice in their father’s name. They’re not trying to turn this into some kind of divisive “black vs. white,” “pro-cop vs. anti-cop” or “left vs. right” debate like so many others have been doing for weeks. They’re not trying to “win” an argument.
These young ladies are pushing for common sense, accountability and togetherness – which are values far too many people on either side of this “debate” have been lacking.
Watch her comments below via ABC News: