Eric Garner’s wife gave her first television interview since the recent death of her 27-year-old daughter, Erica Garner. Speaking to The View on Tuesday (Fevb. 6), Esaw Snipes discussed how the family has been coping with back-to-back tragedies.
Erica, who became an outspoken activist in wake of her father’s death, died last December after suffering a heart attack. The stress of seeking justice in her father’s case, contributed to her health issues.
“It’s still surreal to me,” Snipes said of Erica’s death. “I just talked to her that morning [that she suffered the heart attack]. I kept telling her ‘you have to stay home and build up your heart strength’. I said ‘stay off the internet, because you make yourself angry and cause stress.’”
But Erica couldn’t just “sit around” and keep quiet, according to her mother. “She lived her life on her own terms. I couldn’t tell her nothing from the time that she was able to say something back,” Snipes said with a smile.
Another issue weighing on Erica’s conscious was that she and her father weren’t on speaking terms when he died. Snipes attempted to play peacemaker, but after unsuccessfully trying to them to reach out to each other, she gave up.
The next call that she made was to tell Erica that her father was dead.
“That Thursday I had to call her and tell her her dad went to the hospital and didn’t make it,” she recalled. “I didn’t even want to tell her the gist of everything that happened. I just said that he had an asthma attack and went to the hospital.”
Eric was put in a fatal chokehold by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo during a run-in with police outside of a store in Staton Island, N.Y. in 2014.
His death “took a toll” on Erica because she wasn’t able to say goodbye. “I said ‘he knew you loved him. You were his clone,” Snipes explained revealing that Erica wasn’t named after her father, but after the All My Children character Erica Kane portrayed by Susan Lucci.
In regards to her late husband, Snipes is “done” hoping for some kind of justice. Pantaleo remains employed with the NYPD and received a $20,000 pay increase in 2015. That same year, the city of New York reached a $5.9 million settlement with Snipes over Eric’s death.
“I’m past the anger, it’s pointless,” Snipes said noting that the Department of Justice has failed to bring charges agains Pantaleo.
As for her family, given the change in their dynamic, Snipes doesn’t get much downtime these days. “From the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep my phones are ringing,” she said. “If it’s not the grandbaby’s calling me for every little thing, they want to tell me everything, but I love it. I love being a grandmother so much, it’s like the greatest joy.”
See the full interview in the video above.