The grandmother of Erica Garner, who became a prominent activist after her father died when an officer got him in a chokehold, was barred from attending her funeral.
Gwen Carr was not allowed inside the First Corinthian Baptist Church, when she turned up at around 5pm on Monday, resulting in an altercation outside the Harlem church.
Erica, the daughter of key Black Lives Matter figure Eric Garner, died on Saturday after suffering major brain damage from a massive heart attack on Christmas Eve.
Doctors said pregnancy had put a strain on the 27-year-old’s heart, which was later found to be enlarged.
Carr blamed not being able to attend her daughter’s funeral on her daughter-in-law, Erica’s mother, Esaw ‘Pinky’ Garner, the New York Post reported.
She explained a family rift has been building for some years saying ‘she didn’t want none of our family in there, on my side — the Garners’.
Also not permitted to attend the funeral was Erica’s cousin Benjamin Lawton.
‘I can’t say goodbye to my cousin. This is not something that we make into a media even. This is so messed up,’ he told AM New York.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, whose National Action Network helped organize the funeral, confirmed that ‘Pinky’ Garner was in charge of the guest list.
‘We would not disrespect Gwen. We don’t take sides with that,’ he told the Post.
He later said in a statement that the National Action Network was asked to help with the funeral by Erica’s mother.
‘We fulfilled the requests made by Erica’s mother Esaw much like we did for Eric’s mother Gwen when doing Eric’s Homegoing service,’ he said.
‘We had nothing to do with lists, as we do not know all the members of the family, and as I stated in my eulogy of Erica, I’m not on either side of a family in a civil rights case. I am on the side of justice.’