Tags Eric Garner
Tag: Eric Garner
This week tens of thousands of people in the United States flooded the streets to demand racial justice. It is one of many issues that have been building for years, reaching the tipping point and seeming to explode in a national awakening. We also saw that in the last two weeks with national protests for living wages. Four years ago we listed 15 crisis issues that the country needed to face; poverty wages and the injustice in criminal enforcement, including racially abusive police practices, were two of them.
Wait. Patience. Stay Calm. We’ve been waiting for dozens, hundreds, thousands of indictments and convictions. Every death hurts. Every exonerated cop, security guard or vigilante enrages. The grand jury’s decision doesn’t surprise most Black people because we are not waiting for an indictment. We are waiting for justice – or more precisely, struggling for justice. The young people of Ferguson continue to struggle with ferocity.
As San Francisco Public Defender, I am profoundly dismayed by a Staten Island grand jury’s refusal to bring charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner. The struggle that ended in Garner’s death was caught entirely on video. A grand jury refusing to indict in such an evidence-heavy case would defy belief – if it didn’t happen so often.
Pennsylvania legislators are trying to stop prisoners from speaking about their ideas and experiences. Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Vereb introduced a bill, HB2533, called the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which would allow victims, district attorneys and the attorney general to sue people who have been convicted of “personal injury” crimes for speaking out publicly if it causes the victim of the crime “mental anguish.” The bill was written in response to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement speech at Goddard College and is a clear attempt to silence Mumia and other prisoners and formerly incarcerated people.
What began as a local call for justice for Mike Brown has grown into a nationwide shout for justice. Mike Brown falls in a long line of others killed as a result of systemic racial bias and violence against Black and Brown communities. John Crawford III, Ezel Ford, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Marilyn Banks and countless others named and unnamed have been killed through the excessive use of force by law enforcement. If you want to join in this national fight, sign up to organize locally and come to Ferguson, Missouri, Oct. 9-13.
On Aug. 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown and a friend were walking down a street in their own community when they were confronted by an officer for “walking while Black.” Ever since Black people have been in this country, we have been subjected to a perpetual state of structural oppression and exploitation, including genocidal killings purposefully committed by law enforcement to instill terror in the Black community. And in most cases, because of “who we are,” when confronted with such injustices, we have marched, boycotted, protested, rioted and rebelled.
The SF Bay View newspaper is working to gather enough funds to send JR Valrey to the frontlines in Ferguson, Missouri, site of the biggest protests against police terrorism since Oakland rose up to demand justice for Oscar Grant. They started Saturday, when a police officer murdered unarmed Michael Brown, 18, for walking in the roadway with his friend. Most corporate media is working to distort the story and demonize the righteous anger of the people. Michael’s family and friends and the people of Ferguson need the Black press to tell their truth.
A local NAACP chapter has called for a federal investigation into the death of a Black teenager who was shot by police in a St. Louis suburb on Saturday, Aug. 9. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed Saturday afternoon near his grandmother’s house by a Ferguson police officer. St. Louis County police have not given a reason for the shooting, which happened in a predominantly Black suburb a few miles north of downtown St. Louis. After the shooting, a confrontation between police and hundreds of neighborhood residents lasted several hours, with shouts of “kill the police.”
“They will try to scandalize the deceased,” Rev. Al Sharpton said of the NYPD and what he anticipated they would say. “The issue is not about an unarmed man selling cigarettes … It’s about a man who was subjected to a chokehold and is no longer with us.” At that point, Esaw Garner collapsed and had to be held up by Sharpton and Rev. Herbert Daughtry. All of Garner’s relatives were in pain and weeping as they left the stage. Sure enough, at a press conference, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton began his remarks by citing the arrest record of Garner and explaining that the police were there to apprehend Garner for the sale of illegal cigarettes.