Thursday, January 01, 2015

Eric Garner Was Not A Member Of Al Qaeda

By now, many have heard the story of Eric Garner and have seen the video of his death at the hands of the NYPD. Initially approached by the police for his involvement in breaking up a fight, he was then accused of selling loose single cigarettes (for what would amount to the profit of a few pennies). He was then accosted by police officers, became indignant at having to suffer yet another round of harassment, and had this to say in response:

“Get away [garbled] … for what? Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. Why would you…? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn’t do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because every time you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me [garbled] Selling cigarettes? I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. Please, please, don’t touch me. Do not touch me.”

At that point he was placed in an officially banned choke-hold by a police officer. In his very last words, gasping for air, Eric Garner repeated the following: “I can't breathe.”

How did we as a society arrive at the point where an incident like this can transpire? A man breaks up a fight, gets accused of a spurious crime, and then ends up dead at the hands of a police officer who had repeatedly been accused of misconduct in the past. That this ever happened at all is a tragedy; that it's an incident which most wouldn't find particularly surprising... is a dystopian nightmare.