Illinois Woman Trying To Trademark “I Can’t Breathe” To Sell Hoodies Says She’s Not In It For The Money

It’s a sad reality we live in, when tragic events in the news are inevitably followed by people trying to make money off that newsworthiness. But one Illinois woman says she’s not trying to cash in on the death of Eric Garner, a New York City man who died in police custody, with her attempt to trademark his last words, “I can’t breathe.” She just wants to make hoodies with that phrase on it and sell them.

The woman, who is not related to Garner or his family and reportedly has no connection to them whatsoever, filed an application on Dec. 3 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office seeking to register the phrase for use on hoodies and T-shirts, reports The Smoking Gun.

She claims she’s been using the phrase for commercial purposes already, since “at least as early” as Aug 18, a month after Garner died following the confrontation with Staten Island police.

Earlier this month, a grand jury declined to indict the officer seen on video of the encounter with his arm wrapped around Garner’s neck, repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” Those words have now been chanted around the nation by marchers protesting police brutality.

But this trademark attempted has “nothing to do with the Garner family,” the woman says, as she says she hasn’t spoken to them about her efforts.

Though she claims that marketing the garments with the phrase is not to make money, she hasn’t disclosed what other reason she had for filing the trademark. Somehow we doubt she’ll be giving merchandise away.

Woman Seeks Trademark For “I Can’t Breathe,” Dying New York Man’s Final Words [The Smoking Gun]