Woman Tries To Trademark ‘I Can’t Breathe’ To Sell Merchandise

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December 19, 2014 12:50 p.m.

An Illinois woman has applied for a trademark to the phrase “I Can’t Breathe,” made famous as the last words of New York man Eric Garner, who died in July after a police officer placed the unarmed black man in a chokehold.

Catherine Crump, 57, submitted a petition to the the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 13, the Smoking Gun reported Thursday.

Crump says she has made use of the phrase as early as August 18, one month after Garner was killed, according to the site. She intends to print the phrase on hoodies and t-shirts for sale.

Since Garner’s death, and the subequent grand jury decision on Dec. 3 not to indict the officer who choked him, protestors across the country have turned “I can’t breathe” into a chant at demonstrations.

Crump told The Smoking Gun she did not apply for a trademark to make money.

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