In the YouTube video 100 people wearing black T-shirts harmonized in a solemn hum while poet Daniel J. Watts recited a fiery poem entitled I Can’t Breathe — a reference to Garner’s fateful encounter with police.
On July 17th, Garner, a 43-year-old Staten Island man was confronted by police for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. The police tried to handcuff Garner but when he refused they placed him in a chokehold. The incident was captured by an onlooker’s cell phone camera. The father of six can be heard telling police repeatedly that he could not breathe. However, the police officers ignored his plea. Garner died on the scene.