Eric Garner’s daughter endorses Sanders
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Erica Garner said Friday that the Democratic presidential candidate is the best option for improving relations between police and minority communities.


“Black Americans — all Americans — need a leader with a record that speaks for itself,” she wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

“To me, it’s clear,” added Garner, whose father Eric Garner died in New York City nearly two years ago. "Of all the candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders is our strongest ally.”

Eric Garner died in July 2014 after a police officer put him in a chokehold while arresting him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. The incident inspired national protests and fierce debate over criminal justice reform.

Daniel Pantaleo, Eric Garner’s arresting officer, was not indicted by a grand jury in December 2014 following an investigation of the confrontation.

The endorsement comes days before the Iowa caucuses. Sanders is hoping for a victory in Iowa over Hillary Clinton, who polls suggest has an advantage over him with black voters.

Black voters are expected to be a critical bloc in the Feb. 27 primary in South Carolina, and Sanders is working hard to send a message that he is their best candidate.

Erica Garner praised Sanders for accepting that racial injustice is a legitimate issue that Americans must address.

“The optics were messy, but he heard us,” she said.

Black Lives Matters protestors memorably disrupted a Sanders event last year in Seattle. 

“I believe he will continue to listen,” Garner continued. "I know that once we come together, we are powerful beyond imagination.

“Sen. Sanders know this too. He’s learning from us, working with us and respecting the power of we, the people, over the established political machine.”

Garner added that minorities should turn toward Sanders given traditional institutions of power had failed them.

“I trusted establishment Democrats who claimed to represent me, only to later watch them ignore and explain away the injustice of my father’s death,” she said.

“I trusted the system; then I watched as politicians on both sides of the aisle — from Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder — disregard the will of the people they were elected to represent and abdicate their responsibility to them,” Garner wrote, citing politicians under fire for the treatment of minorities in their communities.

“I’ve watched as our system criminalizes blackness while allowing Wall Street to bilk the American people with impunity.”