According to the site, Garner yelled, “I was railroaded! I was railroaded by ABC on the two-year anniversary of my father’s death! That’s what I have to do? A Black person has to yell to be heard?” after she was refused backstage.
Erica is the daughter of Eric Garner, a man killed by chokehold during a tense encounter with the NYPD. Garner was accused of selling loose cigarettes and his death, caught on camera, spurred national protests surrounding interactions between minorities and the police.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, Erica called the town hall a “farce,” claiming ABC executives lied to her. She clarified on social media that she was not upset about her inability to speak with the president, but was angry with ABC. She believes the company used her pain to “profit from Black misery and oppression.”
The New York Post reports Garner was briefly allowed to speak with the president after her tense exchange backstage. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also confirmed the meeting, saying the president “had a brief opportunity to visit with Erica Garner.”
During the broadcast, Obama broke down narratives surrounding race in America, police interactions, accountability, and the notion that Black lives matter.
Garner was not the only person who presented a challenge. During the telecast, many noted a tense exchange between the president and Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.
Patrick spoke specifically in regards to the shooting deaths of five Dallas officers last Thursday, saying the president should “consider being careful when there is an incident of not being too quick to condemn the police without due process and until the facts are known.”
“I have been unequivocal in condemning any rhetoric directed at police officers,” Obama responded. “So I think, Lt. Gov., you’d have to find … any message that did not include a very strong support for law enforcement in all my utterances dating back to Ferguson because I rely on law enforcement to protect me and my family, just like everybody else does,” he said.