Police Brutality: NY Police Kill Eric Garner for Breaking up a Fight


This is a reblog from a good friend of mine, an Attorney in Florida who verbalized this injustice far better than I could: 

I awake this Saturday morning irate about the death of Eric Garner, 43, who was murdered by Staten Island Police officers two days ago.

No, my typically high vocabulary doesn’t quite express how I feel because honestly, I am really pissed the fuck off this morning.

Being a criminal defense attorney who handles capital murder cases, I have seen enough photos of crime scenes and badly mutilated, charred or decomposing bodies to last three lifetimes. But until yesterday, I had never watched a man who looked an awful lot like I look strangled to death by overzealous police officers. And this troubles me to no end because being the son of a career military and civilian police officer, I already know that there will be excuses made by many who wear the blue who assume that if cops tell a black man to jump, the black man is supposed to ask “how high” and comply without hesitation or risk getting his ass kicked or killed.

When you look at this video, you will see that Garner was neither menacing nor threatening to officers and even when they took him down, he told them no fewer than six times that he could not breathe as he was not actively resisting. I have handled cases with drunken white frat boys and sorority girls who cursed blue streaks and acted far more menacing who didn’t get placed in the choke hold. But did that stop these cops from putting this father of six in the choke hold until he had a heart attack and died? Nope, it sure did not. And what makes my stomach turn is that I have had my own experiences with cops who pulled me over for speeding and no matter how European my car, impeccable my dress or respectful my tone, they saw 6’1, 300 plus pounds of Black man and were threatened to the point of approaching with hand on Taser or weapon.

And to think that 25 years ago, Rock Hall of Fame rap group NWA was on the FBI watch listed for singing “Fuck Tha Police,” a song whose lyrics are timeless in expressing the angst that MOST black men, regardless of socio-economic status, feel when they see “(police) lights start flashin’ behind me, but they scared of a nigger so they mace me to blind me…..”

Eric Garner did not have to die, but what really rubs me the wrong way today is that I know in my heart that the sons of bitches who killed him will very likely be exonerated by a grand jury or if charged, will walk following a trial.

Why is that?

Because there are still too many people in America who believe that racist cops committing acts of police brutality are simply the figments of the black imagination. Like the late, great comedian Richard Pryor once joked, many of my white brothers and sisters will conclude that Garner was “resisting arrest” and shrug their shoulders and move on with their lives. Or there will be others among my white brothers and sisters who will see the names of Reverends Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson leading rallies and prayer vigils and conclude that this is more “racism” from blacks because hey, we all know that the newest form of racism denial is to cry reverse racism and claim that the Sharpton’s, Jackson’s and even Ol’ Hobbs are “stirring the old racial pot.”

Sadly, such is not the case and I am angry this morning, angry that as one who writes about myriad political and social issues each week, that there are white readers and friends (and many blacks) who will rush to hit “like” or comment when I raise issues about black male irresponsibility, blacks murdering other blacks in our inner cities or they will comment long and passionately when I raise an issue such as FSU quarterback Jameis Winston’s legal travails or Heisman “speech,” but when the subject shifts to how black boys and men are still being shot and killed by white vigilantes and police officers, they are as silent as the tombs these brothers now rest within. And that angers and frustrates the shit out of me because being the numerical majority, change on such issues won’t come until white folks are as pissed off by the death of an Eric Garner, Jordan Davis or Trayvon Martin as the families and collective black community are when we learn of such tragedies or at a minimum, to show the same amount of concern that my white brothers and sisters are known to show when a K9 dog is killed.

So as I strive to calm down, I hope the folks who read this morning’s blog but who know they stand mute when these issues arise search their feelings to determine what they can do to make these killings stop. If you can argue that the black community can do more to stop crime, then logically you must ask yourselves what you can do to stop white cops and black cops who act like white cops from killing citizens like Eric Garner whose only “offense” was expressing himself to cops who wanted him to shut up and move along, not cops who were investigating his having committed any violent crime.

Original Blog Post can be found here.


UPDATE: The officer who choked Eric Garner has been stripped of his badge, gun, and put on a “non-enforcement” capacity pending further investigation. At least one other cop involved was put on desk duty. This is normal procedure at this phase, but the NYPD police chief was promised a full investigation. I won’t list the officer’s name here at the risk of slander, but two articles with additional information can be found here and here.


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2 replies

  1. Amen. I’m white and believe no one black or white should sit quiet on this topic anymore. I was disgusted, angered, and pained to watch the video of Eric Garner’s murder.
    I read a news item that the Daily News obtained a copy of the police report and it did not mention that Eric Garner was in distress or the fact that he was put in a chokehold. If it wasn’t for the video the overpaid, over pensioned cops who were involved would have gotten away with their crime. Their reason for Eric’s murder: “He wasn’t obeying orders”. Cops need to remember their purpose: to protect and serve the interests of citizens. We need to put pressure on NYC to fire all the cops involved. But of course the police union will run to their defense. I’ll stop here before I digress into my anti-police union rant.


  2. It’s sad because he never resisted, his hands are not clenched at any moment. The choke hold is illegal!! The officer caused his death at that moment….the man said he can’t breath several times. Good bless Gardner’s loved ones. The police are suppose to protect not kill and beat. I noticed his mother wearing Native American jewelry…..It saddens me to see a human killed like cattle.


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