No Indictment in Eric Garner's Death

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism.]

Eric Garner, a black man who lived in Staten Island, died after a violent encounter with the NYPD in July of this year.

Garner, who had broken up a fight according to witnesses, was stopped and accused by police of selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. When Garner verbally protested, officers moved in to arrest him, putting him in an illegal chokehold then throwing him to the ground and handcuffing him, while multiple officers piled on top of him and smashed his head into the pavement, all of which is viewable in video of the incident taken by a witness.

Garner, who has asthma, can be seen repeatedly shouting that he cannot breathe. The police ignore him, and, upon realizing something has gone terribly wrong, start shooing people away from the scene. Garner died there, in police custody; his last words were, "I can't breathe."

The police attempted to justify this use of excessive force by asserting that Garner had been illegally selling cigarettes.

At first, the police suggested that Garner had died of a heart attack. But a month later, the coroner's report unequivocally stated the cause of Eric Garner's death was compression of the neck and chest. His death was ruled a homicide.

Today, a grand jury failed to indict the NYPD officer who killed Garner, Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

On camera. Illegal chokehold. Ruled a homicide. No charges.

I am hardly the first person to ask: If even this killing does not result in an indictment, what the fuck will?

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