Two years ago, Eric Garner was killed in Staten Island by an officer using a chokehold. Since his death, his daughter Erica has been a public activist for the Black community. On Thursday evening, Garner attended a presidential town hall broadcast by ABC News.
Erica attended the town hall under the impression that she would be given an opportunity to ask the president a question regarding the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation of her father’s death. However, when she wasn’t given the opportunity to ask him a question on air, Garner stormed out of the town hall.
Although she did agree to come to the town hall, Garner and her political director, Reggie Harris, were always hesitant, yet they wanted an opportunity to have an important conversation regarding the death of Eric Garner on air.
According to Harris, ABC News did all but promise that Garner would be given a chance to ask the president a question on camera.
“I asked them, ‘Short of a camera going out, if any questions get asked today, will you promise me one of those question will be Erica’s?” Harris told Buzzfeed News. “They said, unequivocally, yes.”
Once Garner stormed out of the town hall, she began to yell. There was no doubt that the president was aware of the commotion happening just outside the staged area. One attendee of the town hall, Ashley Kershaw, said, “It was uncomfortable. People were looking around and you could definitely hear her screaming. The president shifted in his chair for a second but you could tell he was trying to ignore it.”
However, Garner stands behind her actions, saying, “It’s a shame as Black people that we have to yell and become belligerent to have our voices heard.”
Although ABC News disputes promising Garner a question, Garner feels that she was being used the entire time. She felt that she was being used for ratings and was upset that the network never acknowledged her father, even though she and her family were present.
After the taping, President Obama met with Garner in private to amend the situation; however, Garner felt that it was wrong that her voice was never used to aid in the conversation on air.
Check out some of the tweets sent out by Erica Garner below:
(Photos from left: Andrew Burton/Getty Images, Spencer Platt/Getty Images)