Mrs. Gwen Carr Fights for Release of NYPD Records
Today, Mrs. Gwen Carr, organizers from the Justice Committee and Communities United for Police Reform, and other supporters attended oral arguments for Mrs. Carr’s Article 78 lawsuit demanding full access to NYPD and Civilian Complaint Review Board records regarding the murder of Eric Garner and the investigation and cover-up that followed.
Following the court proceedings in front of Judge Erika Edwards (who also presided over the Carr v De Blasio Judicial Inquiry), the Justice Committee released the following statement from Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner:
GWEN CARR STATEMENT:
For over eight years, I’ve worked tirelessly to find out what happened to my son, Eric Garner, and hold all of the officers involved in his murder accountable while haunted by the memory of Eric’s last words, “I can’t breathe.”
After I – along with countless New Yorkers – fought for half a decade, the mayor and NYPD Commissioner were forced to fire Officer Daniel Pantaleo from the NYPD for his role in killing Eric, but none of the other officers or City officials involved in my son’s murder and the subsequent cover up have been held accountable. This includes Lt. Christopher Bannon, who racially profiled my son, sent officers to target him, and then texted that it was “not a big deal” when he found out my son was likely dead upon arrival. It includes Officer Justin Damico, who participated in Eric’s murder and then tried to cover it up by lying about seeing him sell cigarettes and charging him with trumped up felony charges after Eric was already dead.
I have attended countless rallies, marches, press conferences, and court cases all to ensure that dangerous NYPD officers who are still patrolling our streets are fired. I am tired of the NYPD and the City’s tricks and delays, which only adds to my family’s prolonged grief. I’m tired of having to go to court – as I did today – but I will not stop fighting for the truth and for real accountability.
The previous mayor and three police commissioners failed my family and dishonored Eric’s memory with their lies, delays and shielding of those involved. I’m calling on Mayor Adams and NYPD Commissioner Sewell to change this pattern and do right by my family by releasing all records related to my son’s murder and by firing Lt. Bannon, Officer Damico and all other NYPD personnel and City officials who were involved in killing my son and the subsequent cover-up of the murder.
BACKGROUND: In August 2019, Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, Justice Committee, and Communities United for Police Reform filed a FOIL request for NYPD and Civilian Complaint Review Board records related to the NYPD murder of Eric Garner and the investigation and cover-up that followed. Both agencies gave incomplete responses and the NYPD’s response, in particular, is filled with holes and unnecessary redactions. Mrs. Carr’s Article 78 lawsuit, for which the court heard oral arguments today, calls for a comprehensive response from both the NYPD and the CCRB to the original FOIL request. The records will help shed light on all of the NYPD officers and City officials involved in Eric Garner’s murder and the subsequent cover-up, as well the culture and practices of the NYPD that led to Eric' death. The next court date for this suit has been set for November 17, 2022, 11:30am.