Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Thursday, December 4, 2014

"I Can't Breathe!"


The lonesome death of Eric Garner 
by Harry Siegel

When men are treated like pieces of meat by cops and medics, trust erodes 
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 6:36 PM 

 It’s the second Eric Garner video that made me cry. Not the one where Officer Daniel Pantaleo chokes Garner for 15 seconds before smashing his head into the sidewalk for 10 seconds as other cops hold down and cuff Garner, ignoring the pleas he issued with the last air in his lungs: “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” 

It’s the video shot minutes later as Garner lies dying among men and women in uniforms, men and women who seemed not to give half a damn, that broke me down. Here’s the scene:


 Garner had a heart attack in the ambulance, and died. 

As he lay dying, he was treated like a piece of meat. By Pantaleo. By the other cops on the scene. Even by the medical technicians. Had Garner been treated with basic human dignity after he was violently, and needlessly, taken down, he might not be dead.

I’m no lawyer, but this is section 125.15 of New York’s penal code: “A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when: 1. He recklessly causes the death of another person.” So I’m stunned, and saddened, by a Staten Island grand jury’s decision to level no charges against Pantaleo. 

 Anyone unsure why so many people of color are upset with the police, and suspicious of the American justice system, put your politics down, open your eyes and watch the videos. There’s more to be said on another day about broken-windows policing. 

Garner was known to cops for selling loose cigarettes, though he wasn’t doing that when he was arrested and killed. 

There is also more to be said about the dishonesty or intellectual confusion of activists, protesters and politicians who often appear to view cops as the only real criminals. But fear of police and lost faith in justice are real, corrosive forces. 

That fear makes decent people of color feel that society places a lower value on their lives. It makes parents and their children fear the very people who are supposed to be protecting them. Good policing demands community buy-in, so perception itself matters. And that fear is not only in people’s minds. Just open your eyes and watch the videos.

"I can't breathe."  Eric Garner's last words.

Conservatives Join Outrage Over Grand Jury Decision In Eric Garner's Death


More information on the Tamir Rice killing: 

 Cleveland paid out $100,000 to woman involving excessive force lawsuit against officer in Tamir Rice shooting


kid said...

America is to blame for waiting until there are riots in the streets to take notice of a crisis that has been festering in the Black community for years if not decades. No one gives a damn if the cops can beat the hell out of a Black man and shoot Black people arbitrarily and get away with it but let a brick get thrown through a storefront window, or a store gets looted and people lose their minds over it..

Anonymous said...

He wasn't paying taxes, doesn't he deserve to die?

Shaw Kenawe said...

First of all, Wilson had no knowledge of any shop lifting by Michael Brown when the deadly confrontation occurred.

Second, if avoiding paying taxes warrants a death sentence, most of our corporate titans would be dead.

Third, the person who wrote or copied and pasted the comments from A.R.A., just exposed him or herself as an idiot.

Children playing with toy guns do not deserve to be shot dead. By anyone.

BTW, A.R.A. just to clue you in, there is no law against children playing with toy guns.

You sound like an extremist right wing goon.

Anonymous said...

It's strange that some people are angry because some trigger-happy cops are causing people to see all cops as racist and eager to shoot brown and black people.

Those same people look at some brown and black people who break the law and decide that all brown and black people are criminals and deserve death.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

The comment posted by Racist Asshole - like the comments posted under previous discussion threads - are the same comments that appear at the Porn Queen Blog. These commenters are unworthy of a soapbox on this forum. Moderation (meaning "delete") is warranted.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

INNOCENT until PROVEN GUILTY beyond a reasonable doubt …

This has been a core principle of our criminal justice system taught to generations of school children since the beginning of the Republic. Yet today, far too few people understand or abide by its meaning.

Innocent does NOT mean ‘guilty’ by reason of racial profiling or statistics. This is a bad attitude – and an unconstitutional one - that clearly violates another principle of law enforcement: Reasonable Suspicion. It does NOT mean stopping any citizen at random on the basis of skin color and/or ethnic identity alone without some form of “reasonable suspicion.”

Within my circle of friends is a LAWYER who works as a legislative analyst for the North Carolina State Legislature. Despite her education and accomplishments, my friend cannot shop in an upscale department store without being shadowed by store security. Why? Because my friend is racially profiled wherever she goes. How utterly offensive and galling to be stopped every time you shop! Yet, rightwing hacks justify racial profiling on the basis of crime statistics: This is the kind of attitude that deprives my friend of simple freedoms that the rest of us take for granted.

I recall these experiences of childhood: On afternoons after the religious schools of local churches let out, I was chased home and tormented by bullies who menaced me with this remark: “You killed our Lord.” These recollections from childhood – and the humiliation and fear I felt as an 8-year old kid – explain my empathy for all peoples who are gratuitously profiled and victimized on the basis of ethnic, racial, and religious intolerance.

Rightwing hacks have a depraved indifference to our history of plurality and no understanding of our legal traditions as a democratic republic. What they espouse is not freedom but oppression.

Ducky's here said...

"Garner was known to cops for selling loose cigarettes, though he wasn’t doing that when he was arrested and killed."
Is that true?

They wrestled him down for some bull---- misdemeanor warrant?
They took a man's life over some outstanding nothing warrant?

They held his life in such little regard?
Just one of the extra people.

About the only hope I can see is the apparent agreement between left and right that the police are simply out of control, excessively armed and unaccountable.
That concern may even finally override their fear of the black male.

Rusty Old Ford said...

Shaw, I go to those extreme rightwing blogs so you don't have to, and I've been telling you what they're saying. The pornographer Radical Redneck and his enabler Lisa, and the boot licker, Rusty Shackleford have been on a rant glorying in the death of Michael Brown and now Eric Garner. I don't know what motivates people like them but I do know they are lower than a cesspool. And they've been sending their creeps here pretending to be someone else. Be aware. There's something very wrong with their minds. Avoid that cesspool and don't let their crap here on your blog.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Awesome Necromancer and Tea Party Samurai - both followers of the "Incest" and "Sociopath" blogs respectively - commented here recently. A quick text string search will confirm their identities.

Shaw Kenawe said...

(O)CT(O)PUS and Rusty Old Ford, thanks for that information. I deleted those comments. I try to let as many comments through as is possible, so long as no one attacks the other commenters. I'm on comment moderation because of two trolls who come here almost every day. I don't want their filthy comments to show up here.

Other than those sickos, I've tried let most comments through.

If the Porn Queen's henchmen are coming here and posting under false names, I have no way of knowing for sure.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Ah, more of the Porn Queen's and her sycophantic race hustlers' work?

It is amazing to me how ani manage to form sentences and get them published on rightwing blogs.