Today a decision by a grand jury was released. Charges will not be brought against a police officer who killed an unarmed black man. Does this sound familiar? It should.
No, this is not a delayed post about Ferguson. This has nothing to do with Darren Wilson, who is now receiving more death threats than the woman involved in Gamergate.
Jesus. Where do I even start...
Daniel Pantaleo is an officer with the NYPD. He came across a man, Eric Garner, who was allegedly illegally selling untaxed cigarettes. Eric Garner has been arrested for the same crime not long before, but was adamant that he was doing nothing wrong and simply wanted to be left alone. While Garner protested vocally and raised his arms to block a police officer, he was not acting aggressively. Seconds later, after being placed in a choke hold that police officers are not authorized to preform, Garner went limp and subsequently died. His death "was ruled a homicide by a New York medical examiner, who cited "compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.""
The case was heard by a grand jury, and after two months of deliberation they decided not to indict officer Pantaleo.This decision comes not long after a similar decision in Ferguson, which I will not get into. If you don't know about it you must live under a very comfortable rock.
Some people, including on this website, see the Michael Brown case as cut and dry self defense. These people have a similar view of the Trayvon Martin case. While I can see where that argument comes from, I personally disagree with these people but that is neither here nor there. Garner's death was not caused by self defense. If you deny that, I can do nothing to convince you. I would argue that this death was caused by excessive force and police misconduct, and you may disagree. A New York medical examiner would argue that this death was a homicide, but you may disagree with that too. I don't care if you don't agree with this view of what happened but I do care about is this comment:
But remember, each and every one of these deaths are all completely separate, isolated incidents that in no way create a pattern or reflect on our priorities as a society at all.
This comment was made sarcastically. I am sure of that. But there are many who actually believe this to true.
To those people: Fuck you. Open your goddamn eyes. I am sick and tired of the police walking around like they are judge, jury, and fucking executioner and adopting a 'shoot first, ask questions if you get in trouble" mentality. These are not soulless "thugs" that are being killed, these are people. They have families and people who love them. Eric Garner had kids.
The American presumption of innocence has been in place since 1895, but that goes flying out the window when there is not even a slap on the wrists for a trigger happy or excessively forceful cop (or neighborhood watchman who ignores police orders). In the last few months, and only because of increased coverage of such events, the presumption of innocents feels like it reads differently than it once did. "The accused in presumed innocent until a) proven guilty or b) killed without trial" is how the new version reads, and yet we still have ethical debates over the death penalty. Am I the only one who see's the issue here? We are morally conflicted over ending the life of a convicted murderer, but our cops can just kill someone for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes and we don't even bring it to trial. Do you not understand how messed up that is?
I'll end witha short video, and a song to lighten the mood.
First things first: Mayor Bill de Blasio noted that it would be a "deeply emotional day" for the Garner family and all New Yorkers. He also acknowledged that many people would not agree with the grand jury's decision. He was right. People were very emotional. Gretchen Carlson was fearful. She was fearful that there would be protests in New York City because "we've got the tree lighting ceremony". Yup. She was fearful alright. Nothing is scarier than something threatening your beloved tree lighting ceremony... Idiot.
And finally, if you have managed to read this far, have relevant music. Even though the temptation is strong, I'm not going to post Fuk Da Police by NWA. Don't worry. And if you don't know about Mos Def, you're welcome.
Listen to the lyrics one time. That's all I ask.
President Obama says the Eric Garner case "speaks to the larger issues that we've been talking about now for the last week, the last month, the last year — and sadly, for decades. And that is, the concern on the part of too many minority communities that law enforcement is not working with them and dealing with them in a fair way."
Obama noted in the wake of the Ferguson, Mo., case, the Justice Department has formed a task force to help train police and law enforcement about the best ways to interact with communities of color and minority communities.
The fact that the police force needs a task force to teach them how to interact with people who aren't white is hysterical in the most depressing way possible. Next the D.o.J. will release an official campaign to teach police officers that lynchings are generally frowned upon.