The Rap Band That Watched Eric Garner Die Had To Put The Experience On Wax
The impact of Eric Garner's choking death has transcended way beyond his nuclear family. His daughter and brother may have just released a song about the sting of his passing, but another set of community acquaintances who miss his presence put their feelings on wax.
The Rising Sun All Stars, a hip hop group that calls Staten Island their home, remembers the day they watched Garner die on the ground at the hands of Officer Daniel Pantaleo.
“I wasn’t sure if he was dead or not," Gary Nieves Jr., the band's bass player, told Vulture. From his studio window across the street, he watched as the police wrestled Garner to the ground as he pleaded with them for oxygen. "In my head, I didn’t think he was dead. It looked bad, but because of how nonchalant the responders were, I was kind of assuming, tomorrow he’ll be out here again.”
Shaken up by the incident, he and his bandmates were prompted to record the song "I Can't Breathe," copying Garner's now famous final words verbatim. It was released on Dec. 10, 2014. You can stream the impassioned song on Bandcamp or Soundcloud for free.99, but if you purchase the song, all proceeds will go to Garner's family.
Photo Credit: Mike Shane