Thursday, December 4, 2014

Eric Garner - "I can't breathe"

Eric Garner being arrested by NYC police officers

"There is something rotten in Denmark."   Denmark being New York City this time.  Again, within ten days we have a grand jury find 'no indictment' in the death of an unarmed African-American while being arrested. Eric Garner, a African-American male lost his life when he was arrested by the NYC Police department.  

What makes this arrest different than Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, is that this arrest was completely videoed by a passerby on his cell phone.  I have watched the video.

Eric Garner, under suspicion for selling loose cigarettes (selling them tax free) in Staten Island does resist arrest.  He tells the police officers not to touch him and at that point a swarm of police officers attack him with one officer putting Garner in a choke hold. Garner is wrestled to the ground, in a choke hold, with an officer pushing his face to the ground. Garner gasps out eleven times, "I can't breathe."  But, the police officers push him even further into the ground and do not heed his pleas.

What is so horrifying is watching these police officers literally kill Garner before our eyes. The video is disturbing and difficult to watch.  I find it horrifying to watch the breath and life squeezed out of Garner by the police simply over suspicion of a misdemeanor in this arrest.

Yes, there is something rotten in our country and it is blatant racism.  The NYC coroner's office ruled Garner's death a homicide.  So how could a grand jury exonerate the officer that held Garner in a choke hold?  Why were the other officers in this arrest given immunity?  If they were given immunity that suggests wrong doing.   Who is going to pay for this homicide?  

Many have argued that Garner was obese, had asthma and possibly a heart condition and this is what caused his death.  Had Garner not been arrested in this manner, I don't think he would have dropped dead from obesity, asthma, or a possible heart condition.

Many have argued if he could gasp, "I can't breathe," then he wasn't being strangled and losing his life at that point.  He could get breath out, but he couldn't get breath in to replace it.  That is how he died from the choke hold.

Yes, again, Garner should not have resisted arrest and he would be alive today if he had followed the police officers' commands.  But, again, an African-American man dies because he questions his arrest.   But, what if Garner was truly innocent?   He was being arrested on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes, not the definite act of selling loose cigarettes.  Garner was not caught red handed.

What has happened to innocent until proved guilty?  No man of any color should lose his life over being arrested for a misdemeanor or being arrested at all, for that matter.

And, here in lies the problem.  Yes, African-American mens' lives are seen as less worthy than those of white men.  Our rule of law system is not working correctly.  How can a grand jury watch a man being killed before their eyes on this video and not find the police officer guilty of homicide?  

The prosecutors are not prosecuting these cases when it comes to African-American men being killed by white police officers.  They are not getting indictments because they don't want to get indictments.  Most prosecutors and police forces have a symbiotic relationship. They are co-dependent on one another to get convictions and/or protect one another.  And, when it comes to a white police officer killing an African-American male during an arrest, the prosecutor protects the police officer at all costs.  This relationship between prosecutors and white police officers needs to change.

When an African-American male is killed by a white police officer a special prosecutor must be brought in to handle the case.  No more can the given prosecutor of a community/city handle these cases before the grand jury. It is obvious the prosecutors and police are in bed together.

Yes, our country has the rule of law, but it must be applied equally to all citizens no matter the race, class, or gender of the accused.  

The profiling of African-American males must stop.  Our culture has been conditioned   since the days of slavery to see African-American men as sub-human animals. Even with the end of slavery, our culture has continued to be conditioned over the years to believe that African-American males are dangerous, out of control, up to no good, and committing crimes.  This is not so for the majority of African-American males who live peaceful and law abiding lives.

Yes, "there (definitely) is something rotten in Denmark."

Video taken of Eric Garner's arrest