5 years ago today, Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six and a grandfather of three, was murdered by the NYPD on the streets of Staten Island for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. The whole disgusting episode was captured on camera but once again justice was not served.
Even though Garner’s death was ruled a homicide by the NYC Medical Examiner and even the NYPD’s own internal affairs inquiry determined that officer Daniel Pantaleo used an illegal chokehold, officer Pantaleo was not indicted.
Officer Pantaleo, who essentially choked Eric Garner to death on camera, is still on the force and makes over 100 K per year. In fact, the only person that has seen a jail cell in this whole sordid incident is Ramsey Orta, the young man who filmed the searing video that captured the last moments of Eric Garner’s life. His recording of the execution resulted in non-stop police harassment and eventually imprisonment. Mr. Orta has been incarcerated since October 2016 and according to Democracy Now is now in solitary confinement.
The Garner family not only lost Eric Garner but they also lost his daughter, Erica Garner. Compelled by the murder of her father, Erica Garner became a steadfast activist against police brutality. She died before her time at the age of 27 in late 2017 from a heart condition no doubt aggravated by the accompanying stress and heartache of dealing with the gross injustice committed against her father.
Yesterday, to add insult to injury, the Justice Department said it would not bring federal civil rights charges against officer Pantaleo. Tyrant Trump’s lackey Attorney General William P. Barr personally ordered that the case be dropped.
Our so-called “progressive” mayor, Bill de Blasio, now has a choice to make. He can have officer Pantaleo fired or he can continue with this miscarriage of justice. He can send a clear message to the NYPD that the unlawful killing of people of color will not be tolerated or can signal to them that it is business as usual. If Mayor de Blasio cannot do the right thing in this case then he has no right to even run for President. Unfortunately, I do not believe that justice will be forthcoming for the Garner family. Will your family be next?
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