The Staten Island memorial for Eric Garner, the 43-year-old father who died while being taken into NYPD custody last summer, caught fire Monday, according to police.
Authorities say the fire was not intentionally set and that criminality is not suspected. Police say the memorial caught fire at about 10 p.m.
Late at night on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a fire destroyed the public memorial for Eric Garner on Staten Island. Garner’s daughter, Erica, attributed the fire to an unknown arsonist in a series of tweets late on Monday night.
Police told the New York Post, however, that the blaze started when a candle, lit at the memorial, fell and ignited other items in the makeshift tribute.
Just hours earlier, Reverend Al Sharpton and the Garner family led a candlelight vigil of over 100 people in Tompkinsville, the location of Eric Garner’s fatal encounter with police in July of last year—one of many gatherings at which she and Sharpton appeared.
Sharpton also laid wreaths at the Brooklyn cemetery where the NYPD police officers who were slain in an ambush in December are buried.