Hillary Clinton Says Eric Garner Deserved Punishment, Not Death

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Friday doubled down on her defense of Eric Garner, who was killed by New York City police, saying he didn’t deserve a fatal chokehold for selling loose cigarettes.

“I still can’t get over that Eric Garner, in Staten Island in New York, he died from a chokehold,” Clinton said during MSNBC’s Democratic candidates forum. “He was selling loose cigarettes. Was it illegal? Sure. Did he need to die? No.”

Clinton has long taken a hard stance on racial injustice — as well as mass incarceration — and said in April that Garner was “choked to death after being stopped for selling cigarettes on the streets of our city,” according to Newsday.

“Eric Garner died from a chokehold, all he was doing was selling loose cigarettes…He had a family.” – Hillary Clinton just now

She decried the rioting in Baltimore this year after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, but called for “fresh thinking and bold action” to repair the justice system, according to The New York Times.

Garner, 43, died on July 17, 2014, after an NYPD officer held him in a chokehold. His death sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement. A year after his death, New York City announced it would pay the Garner family $5.9 million t0 avoid a wrongful death lawsuit.

Andy Campbell