Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

I am speechless today.

Truly speechless.

A few minutes ago I heard the news that no criminal charges will be brought against the police officer who, this past July, placed Eric Garner in a chokehold and held it until he died.

In case you missed this one, Garner was a 43-year-old Staten Island man who was approached by an undercover cop. The officer apparently suspected Garner was peddling illegal cigarettes, and ordered him to raise his hands in the air. Garner replied by saying, “I was just minding my own business. Every time you see me you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today!” He then lifted his arms, nonviolently, and was immediately placed in a chokehold …

… until he stopped breathing and died.

He no longer exists.

Garner, of course, was black. I say of course because—and I’m using capitalized letters on purpose—THIS SHIT HAPPENS TO BLACK PEOPLE ALL THE TIME. ALL. THE. TIME. And it’s sickening. Fucking sickening.

I immediately took to Facebook to vent, and wrote this …

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 1.21.50 PMAnd then I got a response that made my eyes pop (not literally). I will protect the man’s identity, but he wrote: “Because they live here. You don’t think African Americans should have faith in law enforcement and due process? That’s messed up man. A lot of people gave their lives for that process, it’s not perfect, but it should be respected by everyone – except the criminals of course.”

Then I got another response that made my eyes pop (this time, literally): “We are not taking about a first offender he was arrested 36 or so times. And was hold by police that he was under arrest and refused to put his hands behind his back. The man was twice the size of the cop. It is tragic that the man died but not the cops fault.”

There you have it.

You wanna know why African-Americans will never receive equal treatment in this country? You wanna know why a large number of whites will never have the requisite empathy and sympathy needed to bring forth genuine societal change? Because we’re selfish. And sheltered. And if it’s not happening to us, we don’t really care. Oh, we pretend we do. We talk and talk, we look saddened, we listen intently as black co-workers and friends of friends of friends speak sadly of tragedies like Ferguson and Staten Island. But, deep down, many whites I know don’t give a shit. They want to watch TV, have a hamburger, tuck in their children and feel safe.

They don’t view this as a societal problem. It’s a black problem. A “them” problem. Maybe it’s justified, maybe it’s unjustified—but, either way, it doesn’t concern many whites. They don’t want people dying at the hands of cops, but when it happens to black people, there’s a reason. He was selling illegal cigs. He pushed a convenience store clerk. He walked in the middle of the street.

I’m so fed up and sickened. Ideally, the above video should serve as the ultimate unifier. We have theories as to what Darren Wilson did; we have ideas and suspicions. But there’s no smoking gun. Well, here, above, is your smoking gun. A man died for the suspicion of selling cigarettes. He was placed in a chokehold until he could no longer breathe, and his life expired.

And, once again, the police walk off into the sunset …


PS: And when the rioting inevitably happens, and the marches begin, I don’t want to hear people talk about unruliness and savages and a lack of respect for law. If law doesn’t respect a people, why should the people pay it any mind?

PPS: And this isn’t a black issue. It’s a human issue. And I’m human. So are you.

9 thoughts on “Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.”

  1. The NYPD has banned the choke hold because of its potential for just this result. So the cop wasn’t even close to following his own department’s express protocol. (Who in LA, which has also discontinued the choke hold, can ever forget the immortal words of former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates that the choke hold kills African Americans because “their arteries do not open as fast as they do on ‘normal people'”? True story.) The Medical Examiner reached a finding that the death was a homicide. The damn thing, including the man’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe, was caught on video tape. The cop who killed Mr. Garner already has at least 2 excessive use of force lawsuits against him. I don’t know what the penalty for selling loose cigarettes is in NYC, but I’m pretty damn sure it’s not the death penalty. And no, sorry, if Mr. Garner had been Caucasian, the whole incident would have gone down differently.

      1. This is a serious question? No, of course not. They were against Officer Pantaleo, the guy who finally escalated from excessive use of force and/or unlawful search and seizure to lethal use of force (and of course the City).

      2. Bad wording on my part, but I thought the intent was obvious so I didn’t correct myself when I saw my post.
        Obviously I was asking – were the excessive force lawsuits CAUSED BY HIS ACTIONS against people of color?

  2. Just wondering why you think this was racially motivated.
    I know that here in Oregon something similar happened a few years ago only the homeless guy was white. So was the cop. Naturally race wasn’t a factor. So I’m wondering why you think this particular incident was race based?
    Did the cop have a history of racial complaints?
    Did the cop say something like, “you are under arrest N—-r”
    Why isn’t it possible the cop is just a jerk?
    I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s when racism was very real.
    I openly supported the civil rights movement, though I admit it wasn’t much of a risk in my world.
    I had long hair and my friends had long hair and dealt with some small cases of prejudice etc.
    I have great sympathy for those that suffer under true prejudice, true racism and any kind of injustice.
    Crying RACISM when there really isn’t any isnt helpful at all.

  3. What exactly is an ‘illegal’ cigarette and how is it different from a ‘legal’ one ? ‘Legal’ cigarettes kill people by the millions and somehow this guy is being arrested and killed for selling an ‘illegal’ one. I guess the difference is one gets taxed and makes a lot of people a lot of money while the other one doesn’t. So that distinction has to be enforced to where this guy pays with his life ?
    I know the police don’t make the law but this whole situation is a complete mess.

    1. The difference is that “legal” cigarettes are sold in packs (with tax seals), while the ones Mr. Garner was suspected of selling, called “loosies” are sold cancer stick by cancer stick — and no tax revenue to the city. I can only say that a death penalty for selling loosies seems kinda harsh in a, you know, developed industrial society.

      You’re right, cops don’t make the law. But they do have discretion about how to enforce it. And going to the choke hold in the first instance ain’t it.

  4. Why is it that we humans allow ourselves to be controlled by lies and liars?
    Hitler controlled a nation and commited all sorts of autrocities by filling people’s minds with lies.
    Jim Jones got many people to drink poisoned kool-aid with lies.
    Islamic extremists have convinced followers to kill themselves as weapons through the power of lies.
    Now we have many people convinced there are racial issues where there are not racial issues through lies.
    I don’t have much respect for an officer that uses a chokehold against policy to kill a man, but there is Zero evidence that race played a part in this.
    Officer Wilson should be considered a hero for putting his life on the line everyday. He shot a young teenager, actually a man (18 yrs 6’4″ 294 lbs) because his life was in danger. The evidence supports that and the hands up symbol used by protesters comes from the lies given by so called eye witnesses. There is no evidence race was ever part of the equation.
    George Zimmerman went way too far because he considered himself a security God. Racism wasn’t the issue.
    Remember when the press posted 4 year old pictures of Trayvon and accused George of targeting him because of the hoodie?
    All lies that the sheep want to follow.
    They might as well move to North Korea.

Leave a Reply