Eric Garner’s death at the hands of New York City police was one of several fatal encounters that gave life to the Black Lives Movement. It has been five years since Garner’s death and justice still has not been served. It’s events like this that totally justifies the BLM movement and protests, such as kneeling during the national anthem.
Garner was approached by cops on Staten Island on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. One of the police officers, Daniel Pantaleo put Garner into a chokehold while other officers held him on the ground. After the chokehold was removed, he pushed Garner’s face into the ground while four officers held him down. Garner told the officers he couldn’t breath eleven times before losing consciousness. None of the officers attempted CRP on Garner at the scene. He died an hour after arriving at the hospital.
Pantaleo denied choking Garner despite there being multiple cellphone recordings of it by bystanders. NYPD policy prohibits chokeholds but despite the no-chokeholds policy, an NYC Medical Examiner and an NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau determining that a chokehold was used (and disciplinary charges recommended), an independent autopsy finding hemorrhaging around Garner’s neck, and a $5.9 million out-of-court settlement with Garner’s family, Pantaleo is still an NYPD cop and not in prison for killing Eric Garner.
Attorney General William Barr also believes there shouldn’t be charges as he has ordered the Justice Department to drop the case.
The U.S. attorney in Brooklyn said the “evidence does not support charging Police Officer Pantaleo with federal civil rights violation,” despite the evidence that Garner is no longer alive. A secret grand jury chose not to indict Pantaleo, proving the adage true that you can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, but not a cop.
There was debate within the Justice Department over charging the officer, which started during the Obama administration and stretched into the Trump era of politicizing the department. I’m sure this decision weighs on Barr’s conscience about as much lying about the Mueller Report.
The cop wasn’t charged in Ferguson. The cop who killed a kid in Cleveland wasn’t charged. Now, this cop isn’t going to be charged. With decisions like this compounded by the fact we have an openly racist president, a political base cheering his racism on, and a complicit Republican Party, the Black Lives Matter movement is needed now more than ever. There are too many villains and not enough people speaking up. Now, we need heroes.
In a nation that has more outrage at a black athlete kneeling during a song than it does at police killing unarmed black men…and boys, and presidential hate rallies where the crowd chants “send her back,” it’s easy to lose faith in your country. But you have to remember that when Black Lives Matter is speaking out, that this is just as much their country as it is the Trump crowd.
Donald Trump and William Barr, and all those who follow them are working to tear this nation down by promoting hate. Where we can find faith is in the people who are fighting to save our country.
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