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Eric Garner’s daughter endorses Sanders in ad; mom endorses Clinton

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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 15: A memorial of Michael Brown, 18, next to the one of Eric Garner, is viewed outside of filmmaker's Spike Lee's 40 Acres offices on August 15, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Both men were recently killed by police officers in situations that remain murky and which have set off protests and demonstrations around the country. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders’ campaign released a powerful ad featuring the daughter of Eric Garner, who died on Staten Island after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold in 2014.

Sanders and Hillary Clinton are locked in a battle for the Democratic nomination, both trying to appeal to African American voters ahead of the South Carolina primary, where the black vote is crucial to a Democratic victory.

Erica Garner gives a moving account of losing her father, saying, “No one gets to see their parent’s last moments. And I was able to see my dad die on national TV. They don’t know what they took from us … he was loved dearly. ”

She endorsed Sanders in January, about a week after Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, endorsed Hillary Clinton.

In the video, Erica Garner explains her support for Sanders saying, “I believe that Bernie Sanders is a protester,” her account, told at times straight to camera or over images of her protesting, interspersed with Sanders talking about criminal justice reform at campaign events.

“He’s not scared to go up against the criminal justice system. He’s not scared,” Garner says.

The Sanders campaign posted the four-minute video online the same day that Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon, endorsed Hillary Clinton and dismissed Sanders contributions to the movement.

“I never saw him. I never met him,” Lewis said Thursday. “I was involved in the sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed to voter education project for six years. But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton.”

Sanders has talked about attending the 1963 March on Washington, recounting, “I was way way back there, one of the several hundred thousand people who was here.”