The daughter of Eric Garner came out to show her support for the families of the two slain NYPD officers during a memorial today to help ease the perception that the Garner family and supporters are anti-police.
"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," Emerald Garner told ABC News. "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."
Garner went on to say that she doesn't believe that the killing of the two officers had anything to do with race, and was more of a "mental health crisis." She went on to explain her own opinion of what happened in a situation where gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley said that he was going to kill police as retaliation for the death of Michael Brown and Emerald's father, Eric Garner. "It didn't have anything to do with race or anything -- it was a mental health crisis and he was dealing with [it] personally and didn't have the proper way to express his anger."
Only three weeks ago, a grand jury decided not to indict the officer who fatally choked Eric Garner during a July 17 arrest in Staten Island, New York. Garner's death and the failed indictment of the officer sparked a series of protests that joined up with protests already in process after a grand jury declined to indict an officer for the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The media storm that followed the incidents caused further protests, some of which turned violent and directly against police in many major cities. Ismaaiyl Brinsley took the protests to another level by executing officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, while they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.
Emerald Garner's peaceful sentiments join those of Eric Garner's widow and mother who spoke up against the NYPD slayings earlier this week.
"Anyone who's standing with us, we want you to not use Eric Garner's name for violence because we are not about that," Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, told reporters. "I'm standing here in sorrow about losing those two police officers."
Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, added that her husband was not a violent man and wouldn't appreciate these types of retaliations. "We don't want violence connected to his name." She also expressed empathy for the families of the murdered officers. "I know what they're going through to lose a loved one right before the holidays," she added.
Garner's son, Eric Snipes, told NY Daily News when the protests started that he hoped New York City wouldn't suffer the same fate as Ferguson after the riots surrounding the death of Michael Brown. "I think everybody knows my father wasn't a violent man and they're going to respect his memory by remaining peaceful," he said. "It's not going to be like it was there."
While the protests did remain peaceful at first, some violence was reported by police in the following days. The murders of the two NYPD officers marks the first time direct retaliation has been this extreme following those protests.