An Illinois woman is attempting to trademark the last words of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died while being taken into custody by New York City Police, the Smoking Gun reports.
According to an application filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Catherine Crump, a 57-year-old Waukegan woman, seeks to hold the rights to “I can’t breathe,” a phrase repeated by Garner as police officer Daniel Pantaleo put the father of six in a chokehold as officers wrestled him to the ground.
In her application, Crump states she intends to use the phrase on a line of clothing that includes “hoodies, t-shirts for men, women, boys, girls, and infants.”
According to Crump’s application, she has been using the slogan for commercial purposes since “at least as early as” August 18 — approximately one month after the Garner’s death.
Athletes — including Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and the Notre Dame womens basketball team — and celebrities have been wearing t-shirts bearing the phrase in support of nationwide protests against police brutality against African-Americans.
In a statement, Crump said her filing has “nothing to do with the Garner family” and that she hasn’t spoken with them.
Crump — who paid a $325 filing fee for the trademark — also stated that her intention was not to make money, but she declined to disclose her reasons.
According to The Smoking Gun, three other aspiring entrepreneurs have filed to trademark the phrase “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” associated with the death of Ferguson teen Michael Brown. Each of those filings came within three weeks of the death of Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was shot to death by former police officer Darren Wilson.