This week The New York City Medical Examiner office determined that the chokehold used my NYPD officer Pantaleo was indeed the cause of Eric Garners death. Police are the protectors of our society. They are sworn into their positions to protect and serve the citizens of their jurisdiction. However, violence does not always need to be the first actions these public servants take and in many cases like Eric Garner, the violent actions taken are illegal. I’m reminded of my days as a child, when my parents laid out rules. I knew there were limits but quickly I found out that I could over step these boundaries placed upon me. I started breaking the rules simply because I could. Police across the nation everyday overstep their limits simply because they can. In many cases officer act on presumptions and targeting suspects of particular communities. Eric Garner was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes. Several officers proceeded to surround Garner and officer Pantaleo used a fatal chokehold, banned by the NYPD Police Department. This was all caught on tape and not once did we hear Garners Miranda rights read to him. Even though Eric Garner used profanity and was on the defense, it did not excuse the actions the police took. All the officers present knew that the chokehold used by officer Pantaleo was illegal, but not once did fellow officers try to stop him, because violent policing has become the norm. I’ve witnessed it plenty of times, a group of police officers who out number a “suspect” surround him, engage in harassment and proceed to use violence with no explanation, simply because they could. No wonder there is an increasing mistrust of Police. When my parents found out that I started breaking the rules there was a price to pay. I learned early on in life that when rules were broken, when limits were overstepped, I had to be punished. I thought twice before breaking another rule because of the discipline that was enforced. Simply because I could did not work in my parents household. Officer Pantaleo has been accused of false arrest and violating police procedure in two previous lawsuit. So many officers are let off the hook and the cycle just continues. Police across the nation that use violence simply because they can, must be held accountable. Police must be shown that these oversteps are not acceptable. Police officers who use violence in such a way must be punished to the full extent of the law, including Police Officer Pantaleo. Their actions should not be swept under the rug. Suspects or not, they are still people and should not be treated like animals. Eric Garner was a father, a husband, a beloved member of his community, a citizen who was a victim of violent policing. You can hear him squeal his last words, “I can’t breath.” His life was snatched from him on video, by the hands a police officers using excessive illegal force. Yes, there are times that violence must be used, being a Police Officer is a tough and dangerous job. But to whom much is given much is required, and Police Officers must practice a balance of their force. If they can not handle the delicate dance that this highly coveted job requires, then they should not be Police Officers.
May Eric Garner’s family see the proper justice they deserve. May violent policing no longer be the norm. With mandates like Stop & Frisk we can not afford to allow this type of abuse of authority to continue. I’m glad someone pulled out their phone and videotaped the unnecessary illegal violent actions used against Eric Garner. Although he died, the viral video has placed a spotlight on this nationwide issue. Let’s start holding our police accountable for they are not above the law. Let’s start living up to the very allegiance of the flag that we all pledged to at one time or another… with liberty and justice for all. Let’s take a stand against police brutality and misconduct; let’s do the right thing, simply because we can!
Check out this demonstration at the NYPD Station in Time Square :
Knowledge is Power & Power is Possibilities
Below are a list of organizations/ organized actions dedicated to this cause, check it out: