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Dozens Gather To Mark 6 Years Since Chokehold Death Of Eric Garner On Staten Island

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Friday marks six years since Eric Garner was killed in police custody on Staten Island.

Dozens gathered on Bay Street, where Garner died, to honor his memory and commit themselves to the continued fight against police brutality, CBS2's Christina Fan reported.

Garner was arrested there for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on July 17, 2014.

Four NYPD officers were seen on video restraining him as he repeatedly cried, "I can't breathe."

Officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired last year for putting Garner in a chokehold.

Six years after Garner's death, rage has only intensified.

"I don't think anything has improved. I see a lot of lip services," said Jewel Miller, Garner's former partner, who visited the memorial with their young daughter, Legacy.

PHOTOS: A Look Back On Eric Garner's Funeral

On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a package of police reform bills, which outlawed chokeholds.

"We should not have lost Eric Garner and we never want to again in this city, ever again, lose another person in any circumstance like that," he said Friday. "But I truly believe that Eric Garner, even though he should be with us today, did not die in vain. From the moment we lost him, efforts at change and reform have progressed, and they can progress today deeper and deeper."

Garner's final words, "I can't breathe," were repeated by George Floyd and have become a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, reflected on the progress that's been made.

"He would be so proud of me, 'cause he see how his mother has stood up through these six years, nonstop. With the cameras on or with the cameras off," said Carr.

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Advocates say the work cannot stop, because the need for change is far from over.

"The police is never penalized. So, no we don't want a hug, we don't want a kneel, we don't want you to paint nothing. We don't want you to rename a street or a park," said Queen Blizzy, from the Legacy Eric Garner Left Behind Foundation. "We want you to send them to jail."

The group said they'll come back to Bay Street every year to ensure Garner did not, and others do not, die in vain.

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