With the exception of Joe Biden, as of this writing on Tuesday all of the 2020 Democratic frontrunners had expressed support for Eric Garner’s family and outrage over the Trump administration’s decision not to prosecute the New York police officer accused of killing him in 2014.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who worked with Garner’s daughter Erica on issues of social justice and police accountability before Garner’s death in 2017, was the first major primary candidate to speak out about the Department of Justice’s announcement.
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The decision, reportedly finalized by Attorney General William Barr, was “not just,” tweeted Sanders, “and we will not have real justice for black Americans until there is serious reform of our racist criminal justice system.”
The senator was followed by his colleagues, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in condemning the administration’s decision not to charge Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is accused of putting Garner in a fatal chokehold five years ago and who still serves in the NYPD.
Sen. Cory Booker, Gov. Jay Inslee, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand were among the candidates who issued their own statements decrying what they called “unjust” and “an outrage.”
Joe Biden has been considered a frontrunner since before he announced his candidacy in April, and is currently polling between 21 and 32 percent, according to the most recent surveys.
The former vice president has faced criticism during the campaign regarding his record on racial justice, including his history of opposing school busing to integrate schools in the 1970s and 1980s, with Harris telling him she had been personally affected by school segregation as a child.
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