NEW YORK - The mother and widow of an unarmed black man whose police chokehold death sparked protests across the country said Saturday that they have been moved by the thousands of peaceful demonstrators who have taken to the streets after a grand jury declined to indict the white officer involved.
"It is just so awesome to see how the crowds are out there," said Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, who added that she ended up stuck in her car after protests shut down traffic. "I was just so proud of that crowd," Carr said. "It just warmed my heart."
Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, said she saw demonstrators from her apartment window and told her son, "Look at all the love that your father's getting."
Demonstrators around the country have staged die-ins and other protests since the Garner grand jury's decision Wednesday, which closely followed a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict a white officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old.
Garner's family joined the Rev. Al Sharpton later Saturday as Sharpton laid a wreath at the site on Staten Island where Garner died July 17 in a confrontation that started when police tried to arrest him for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.
"All we're concerned about is justice from the police," said Garner's stepfather, Benjamin Carr, who wore a T-shirt with the words, "Enough is enough."
Protests continued in New York City for a fourth day with several dozen people lying down on the floor of Grand Central Terminal. There were no reports of arrests.
On Friday night, 20 protesters were arrested on disorderly conduct charges in New York, police said. Hundreds of demonstrators marched and many briefly laid down in Macy's flagship store, Grand Central, and an Apple store.
Also Friday, elected officials told mourners the world was watching as they remembered Akai Gurley, an unarmed man shot dead by a rookie police officer in a darkened public housing stairwell. At a wake that came hours after the Brooklyn district attorney announced plans to take the case to a grand jury, Gurley was mourned by relatives as a loyal father and son.
But Gurley also has become part of a narrative of anguish over police use of deadly force, with his wake coming amid protests in the Garner and Brown cases.