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Eric Garner Incident Re-Opens Wounds for Bronx Mother

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TWC News: Eric Garner Incident Re-Opens Wounds for Bronx Mother
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The death of 43-year-old Eric Garner reopens wounds for a Bronx woman whose son died after a similar incident with police almost 21 years ago. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

"Oh my God, it happened again," says Iris Baez.

The story of Eric Garner's death seems all too familar to her: a man dies after being put in an apparent chokehold by an NYPD officer.

Her son, 29 year-old Anthony Baez suffered the same fate in 1994 when former officer Francis Livoti used the illegal maneuver to subdue him after a football Baez and his brothers were playing with accidentally hit Livoti's police car.

"Just like it happened yesterday and you know I feel—because I feel that that was my son laying down on the floor, that was my son saying I couldn't breathe. That was my son. You understand what I mean? And it just opening all the old wounds," Iris Baez says.

Baez, who couldn't bring herself to watch the video of officers confronting Garner, says she didn't want to accept it, but knew deep down inside what happened to her son would happen again.

Now, almost 21 years later Iris Baez still lives in her house on Cameron Street, renamed Anthony Baez place in honor of her son.

However, Livoti, was released from jail in 2005 after serving more than seven years.

In a trial by a judge, he was acquitted of criminally negligent homicide, but later a federal court found him guilty and sentenced him to the time for violating Baez's civil rights.

Iris Baez says that was too lenient a punishment.

"It's no justice," she says.

She hopes those found responsible for Garner's death get a stiffer penalty.

"The minimum he has to get is 25 to life. I hope that Bratton do the right thing and remove all the officers that were there off the police force," she says.

Meanwhile, Iris Baez extends her support to Garner's family.

"I feel every pain that you're feeling right now, because I know we have to live with this 'til the day we die as mothers, as wives, as daughters," she says.

She continues a two-decade-long mission of fighting against police brutality.

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