Loved ones of NYPD chokehold victim Eric Garner Saturday commemorated what would have been his 44th birthday.
"At this time last year, we . . . [were] sitting down at Applebee's eating dinner for his birthday, and now this year, all I can do is talk to the sky and hope that he hears me," said a weeping Esaw Garner, his wife, at the Rev. Al Sharpton's storefront pulpit in Harlem.
Gwen Carr recalled going into labor with Eric Garner, her firstborn, on Sept. 15, 1970: "This was a good pain that I was feeling at that time . . . Now today I'm feeling another pain: My son, he's no longer with me, and I feel this every day. Every day I die a little more because he's not coming back, and I know he's not."
The family planned to honor his memory later in the day with a party and barbecue in the Tompkinsville neighborhood of Staten Island.
He died July 17 of what the city medical examiner said was homicide caused by a banned chokehold, which occurred during an arrest that police said was for untaxed cigarettes.
Staten Island's top prosecutor, Dan Donovan, plans to convene a grand jury to weigh criminal charges over Garner's death.