Eric Garner memorial burns on MLK Day

The police say no foul play is suspected, but Garner's daughter disagrees

By Joanna Rothkopf

Published January 20, 2015 2:29PM (EST)

A memorial for Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, July 21, 2014.                  (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)
A memorial for Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, July 21, 2014. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

According to police reports, the Staten Island memorial for Eric Garner, the 43-year-old asthmatic man who died after a New York cop performed an illegal chokehold on him, caught fire at around 10 p.m. on Monday evening. No criminal activity is suspected-- police believe that a candle may have fallen and accidentally burned the memorial.

Garner's daughter, Erica, however, is suspicious.

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NBC News reports that the area has hosted nearly non-stop protests since Garner's death:

Daily vigils and protests have marked the spot on Bay Street and Victory Boulevard in Tompkinsville where an NYPD officer was caught on amateur video wrapping his arm around Garner's neck as the asthmatic father of six gasped, "I can't breathe!" nearly a dozen times...

Mayor de Blasio supported the demonstrations that followed a Staten Island grand jury's decision not to indict the officer, fracturing his relationship with the city's police unions.

Garner's stepfather, Benjamin Carr, also believes that the fire was set intentionally. "I'm going to rebuild it," he said in an interview with NBC News. "Every damn time they tear it down, I'm gonna put it back."

Joanna Rothkopf

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Eric Garner Martin Luther King Memorial Staten Island