garner memorial

Today, a Grand Jury in New York declared “No True Bill”, that is, a finding that there is not probable cause for believing a crime was committed by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was filmed choking an unarmed and helpless black man, Eric Garner to death. The coroner declared Garner’s death a homicide, meaning the officer did murder him but despite that and live video evidence of the murder, the grand jury somehow came to this outrageous decision.

Coming on the heels of the grand jury decision in St. Louis refusing to indict Officer Darren Wilson for his killing of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, this is a one-two punch to many Americans’ belief in our policing and justice system…and an implicit threat to black man all over this country.

In the span of nine short days, America has been slapped in the face by the reality that in America, police have the authority to kill poor black men without fear of consequence or retribution.

It is outrageous to have to admit but the evidence is overwhelming. Here’s a thought provoking chart from an article at Daily Kos:

The police keep very accurate records of policemen who are shot but despite being in the business of law enforcement and protecting citizens, they do not keep a record of the citizens they shoot and kill. So, Americans have no clear records of just how many of their fellow citizens, primarily poor black citizens, have been killed by police year in and year out…and how easy it is for them to get away with most of these wrongful killings.

When the protests in Ferguson over the killing of Michael Brown and the shielding of Officer Darren Wilson began, America saw how militarized and brutal the Ferguson Police force was. Thinking back to the days of the Occupy Wall Street protests, we can remember how militarized, coordinated and ruthless many police forces around the nation have become as well.

It is a terrible thing to see our police forces evolve into the militarized and Borg-like troops that they have become, especially when the Constitutional right of citizens to protest is exercised. However, to have police oppression and violence protected by courts that refuse to find nearly any police misconduct against citizens illegal, including murder and especially the murder of black men, is setting up a pressure cooker that will someday explode if the pressure isn’t relieved.

It is one thing to be a black man and fear the police but it is another more intimidating thing to see the justice system protect and insulate the police from any harm when they murder unarmed black men.

What should a young black man in Missouri, New York or a variety of big cities and small towns across America think when they’re walking down the street and see a police car pulling up to them? That there is nothing to worry about? Or that if they say or do anything at all that the police could even interpret in a slight way as being a threat, they could be arrested, beaten or even killed?

Black parents have often explained about “The Talk” they have to have with their young sons along the way, about how they need to act towards policemen to try best to protect themselves from police abuse. It’s awful that parents need to have such a talk with their kids and just as awful that they have to act in such a way when dealing with police to avoid being arrested or harmed.

How’s this for example, video of a black man stopped for questioning by police for the “suspicious” activity of walking with his hands in his pockets on a frigid day:

And let’s not forget what happens if you’re a black woman walking on the shoulder of a Los Angeles freeway:

By the way, the most recent article I could find on this CHP beating said that while a civil settlement had been reached with the victim, no criminal charges had been filed against this officer. And how many black men and women have been victimized like this without having the video to pursue any justice?

To be clear, there are some remarkable, principled and heroic policemen out there. There are also racist and brutal policemen out there.  Of course, it is only the latter that citizens, especially African Americans, have to worry about.

Now that there is sufficient evidence to see that our police forces have become too militarized and too capable of using unjustified force against the very people they are sworn to protect…and that D.A.s and Grand Juries will go out of their way (and out of legal bounds)  to protect police from paying any price for their crimes, what can we do to change this? Or is it inevitable that the people must either subordinate themselves to the limits of such an unofficial police state or rise up violently against it?

The efforts that Eric Holder and President Obama are taking in light of their meeting with people from Ferguson, Missouri may be the small light at the end of the tunnel. Profound reforms need to be made to our police forces which have grown too independently powerful over the years. The mentality of “us vs. them” is far too prevalent, the abuse of power is far too great and the confidence to act with impunity is far too widespread.

The St. Louis Police have continued to double down on their racism and oppression by insisting that the St. Louis Rams players who demonstrated support for their community before their game last Sunday by giving the “Hands up, don’t shoot” motions should be punished. They are also investigating Michael Brown’s stepfather for inciting a riot due to his furious reaction right after the ruling by saying, “Burn this bitch down! “(I’m sure there wouldn’t have been any rioting if he hadn’t shouted that). They won’t however be investigating the St. Louis D.A. McCulloch who intentionally released the explosive decision at night when rioting was most likely to happen.

Can change really happen? Can there be accountability for police? Can there be an assurance of safety for all citizens and can police carry the integrity and confidence with their communities that is so necessary for them to operate successfully?

And can we fix our broken justice system that provides for D.A.s to manipulate Grand Juries against indicting police officers? That’s an even tougher challenge but that too needs to be addressed.

A social system can’t stand if people have no confidence in it, no matter how many tanks and sets of military assault uniforms you have.

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choicelady
Member

In the early 1990s I had reason to confront an entire police department for its selective enforcement of the law. I enlisted the aid of a Black city council member who helped me file a complaint against the PD and create an FBI investigation. It freaking worked. It changed EVERYTHING for the good. Someone has to be the ‘name’ on a complaint – I was not thrilled to be that, but eventually it was OK. I urge anyone who has a beef, if a resident of the area where the issue exists, to find a brave public official with whom to partner and file that complaint. I was pointed out to the PD Commissioner – and lived to tell the tale. It’s scary, but it’s important. It can be done. We must step up and do it.

kesmarn
Admin

c’lady, you are living proof (just had to correct an almost-typo…I had typed “loving” proof…maybe I should have left it that way) that taking a stand against injustice is nothing to be sentimentalized.

It’s tough business. It can be dangerous business.

If everybody loves you and you don’t have a single enemy in the world, you’re doing something wrong.

glenn
Member
glenn

I know I’m late to be commenting on this, but I’d just like to add my two cents’ worth. IMHO, we need to be reframing the dialogue so that people cannot make this about race, even though it is about race. Perhaps we need to be reframing this as outrage over fellow American citizens being treated this way by police. When we “marginalize” people as black–and make no mistake about it; if you are a black American, you are “marginalized”–we are giving a “reason” for the police to act this way. So, from now on, I’m going to use the term “my fellow American citizens” when talking about these injustices. I’m sure it’s naïve and optimistic to think that it will make any difference whatsoever, but I refuse to marginalize my fellow American citizens, no matter what their race. I know I’m “preaching to the choir”, but consider this my humble contribution to helping our nation move forward.

kesmarn
Admin

glenn, I think you’re making a good point here. Yes, Ferguson and the Eric Garner case are about race. But there’s an element of class here too. Poor whites are not treated much better by law enforcement.

And we only have to look at video of the way police reacted to Occupy demonstrators a few years back to see that being whacked with a baton, roughed-up and/or tear gassed for no reason can happen to almost anyone who happens to be on the “wrong” side of an issue.

I agree, this is also an issue of police over reach (and over supply with ridiculous military hardware and no training regarding when and how to use it) and income inequality. (When was the last time you saw a cop choke a banker?)

glenn
Member
glenn

Kes, thanks for your reply. I think your point about it being a class issue as well is one to be considered. Most pundits, both on the left and especially on the right, want to boil this down to the issue of race only, and that is not the case. Race is one factor in all of these cases, but not the only one. I was watching Chris Hayes when the NY grand jury decision first came down. He had on a councilman from NY and the councilman was saying it was a problem with how politicians treat black people. So, Chris asked him, “As a politician, what are YOU doing about it?” I think this is a question we have to ask of all the people who have the power to do something about it, no matter what their race. I wish Chris Hayes would ask every politician who comes on his show this question. “What are YOU doing about the culture/policies/laws that allow police to act this way against their fellow American citizens?”

kesmarn
Admin

I agree, glenn. Politicians can’t just sit back and hope that things improve. We elect them to get things done — to change things that are wrong — and they’re collecting their salaries for nothing if they don’t even try to do that.

Today on the way home, I was listening to the radio in the car. NPR had an interview with Perry Wallace, whom I’d never even heard of. He was the first Black basketball player at Vanderbilt University and he chronicles what he endured in the South in a book that has just been published.

Wallace says he can still remember the kinds of slurs spat at him: “We’re going to kill you, we’re going to castrate you … People are going spit on you … they’re going to lynch you.” He remembers being called “the n-word, a coon, a jigaboo.”

Wallace he says there’s one scene that will stand out forever in his mind: “It is that of what looked like three generations of a family, and all of them were spitting, screaming, calling me names, and threatening me. This was just great sport for them.”

Is this ever going to change?

Now that the South has gone completely GOP, wouldn’t you love to ask every one of them: “What are YOU doing about this culture?”

Kalima
Admin

EXCLUSIVE: Cop texted union rep as Akai Gurley lay dying

http://nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/exclusive-texted-union-rep-akai-gurley-lay-dying-article-1.2034219

—-

UN ‘concerned’ at US jury decisions

UN human rights experts express “legitimate concerns” over no charges being brought against US policemen involved in two civilian deaths.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-30350702

—-

Jon Stewart to Eric Garner: You Think pain and grief are hard to digest (12/4/2014)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aIElMOqdCSs

Kalima
Admin
James Michael Brodie
Member

Here is a partial list of unarmed Blacks killed by police in the US since the turn of the century. A complete list from 2005 to 2012 alone would show nearly 800 killings. Folks, this is a real problem.

List not well received by the good folks at Yahoo, who think all of these people had it coming. They also see some connection between criminals who kill and police who kill — as if criminal behavior give the police permission to do the same thing.

My book research on the Yahooligans continues…

2014: Tamir Rice (Cleveland, OH)
2014: Victor White III (Iberia Parish, LA)
2014: Dante Parker (San Bernardino County, CA)
2014: Ezell Ford (Los Angeles, CA)
2014: Michael Brown (Ferguson, MO)
2014: Tyree Woodson (Baltimore, MD)
2014: John Crawford III (Beavercreek, OH)
2014: Eric Garner (New York, NY)
2014: Yvette Smith (Bastrop, TX)
2014: Jordan Baker (Houston, TX)
2013: Barrington Williams (New York, NY)
2013: Carlos Alcis (New York, NY)
2013: Deion Fludd (New York, NY)
2013: Jonathan Ferrell (Bradfield Farms, NC)
2013: Kimani Gray (New York, NY)
2013: Kyam Livingstone (New York, NY)
2013: Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr. (Austin, TX)
2013: Miriam Carey (Washington, DC)
2012: Chavis Carter (Jonesboro, AR)
2012: Dante Price (Dayton, OH)
2012: Duane Brown (New York, NY)
2012: Ervin Jefferson (Atlanta, GA)
2012: Jersey Green (Aurora, IL)
2012: Johnnnie Kamahi Warren (Dotham, AL)
2012: Justin Slipp (New Orleans, LA)
2012: Kendrec McDade (Pasadena, CA)
2012: Malissa Williams (Cleveland, OH)
2012: Nehemiah Dillard (Gainesville, FL)
2012: Ramarley Graham (New York, NY)
2012: Raymond Allen (Galveston, TX)
2012: Rekia Boyd (Chicago, IL)
2012: Reynaldo Cuevas (New York, NY)
2012: Robert Dumas Jr (Cleveland, OH)
2012: Sgt. Manuel Loggins Jr (Orange County, CA)
2012: Shantel Davis (New York, NY)
2012: Sharmel Edwards (Las Vegas, NV)
2012: Shereese Francis (New York, NY)
2012: Tamon Robinson (New York, NY)
2012: Timothy Russell (Cleveland, OH)
2012: Wendell Allen (New Orleans, LA)
2011: Alonzo Ashley (Denver, CO)
2011: Jimmell Cannon (Chicago, IL)
2011: Kenneth Chamberlain (White Plains, NY)
2011: Kenneth Harding (San Francisco, CA)
2011: Raheim Brown (Oakland, CA)
2011: Reginald Doucet (Los Angeles, CA)
2010: Aaron Campbell (Portland, OR)
2010: Aiyana Jones (Detroit, MI)
2010: Danroy Henry (Thornwood, NY)
2010: Derrick Jones (Oakland, CA)
2010: Steven Eugene Washington (Los Angeles, CA)
2009: Kiwane Carrington (Champaign, IL)
2009: Oscar Grant (Oakland, CA)
2009: Shem Walker (New York, NY)
2009: Victor Steen (Pensacola, FL)
2008: Tarika Wilson (Lima, OH)
2007: DeAunta Terrel Farrow (West Memphis, AR)
2006: Sean Bell (New York, NY)
2005: Henry Glover (New Orleans, LA)
2005: James Brisette (New Orleans, LA)
2005: Ronald Madison (New Orleans, LA)
2004: Timothy Stansbury (New York, NY)
2003: Alberta Spruill (New York, NY)
2003: Orlando Barlow (Las Vegas, NV)
2003: Ousmane Zongo (New York, NY)
2003: Michael Ellerbe (Uniontown, PA)
2001: Timothy Thomas (Cincinnati, OH)
2000: Earl Murray (Dellwood, MO)
2000: Malcolm Ferguson (New York, NY)
2000: Patrick Dorismond (New York, NY)
2000: Prince Jones (Fairfax County, VA)
2000: Ronald Beasley (Dellwood, MO)

Nirek
Member

Brodie, that list tells such a story. Sad to say America has not advanced in race relations as far as I had hoped.

Sabreen60
Member
Sabreen60

Michael,

I appreciate your research as well. As I stated, these cop killings are not new. I think because of social media, cell phones, and video cameras people are more aware. At least white people are more aware. Anyone who has lived in a predominately black community knows these killings happen.

kesmarn
Admin

A completely awesome piece of research, Michael, and just what is needed. Facts.

Two questions: may I pass this along (with credit to you) to others?

And: in your research, have you EVER come across a case in which a cop shot an unarmed Black person and went to trial? (Much less was convicted?)

Thank you so much.

Nirek
Member

Kes, I would like to know how many unarmed white men have been killed by the police?
That would be a telling piece of information along with Brodie’s info. I’m willing to bet that list will be a lot shorter.

kesmarn
Admin

I wouldn’t bet against you on that one, Nirek!

James Michael Brodie
Member

I can’t take credit for this. I found it online in several places. But please share it.

kesmarn
Admin

Thanks so much, Michael. It’s a powerful statement.

James Michael Brodie
Member

There have been cases, but they are few. I think there was one in New York, but not sure of the race of the victim.

kesmarn
Admin

Thanks again.

Nirek
Member

Ad, this has to stop. Police need to be sure that a person is resisting before using excessive force. Mr. Garner was not resisting. He was saying he can’t breath. He was a large man and looked to me like he was not well. The police in the vidio were overpowering him and the chokehold was NOT supposed to be used!

Mike Brown did , I guess steal cigars but he never should have been shot.

The twelve year old boy was playing and the cop pulled up close and shot within 2 seconds? How was that justified? The cop had a poor record from a previous PD. Why was he hired in the first place? “Trigger happy” was one of the reasons for the poor report about him.

I am certain that most police are truely good people but the PD’s need to train their officers to use the least amount of force necessary to subdue someone.

Last thing, this seems to be only with people of color. We don’t seem to see white people being killed without a chance to servive.

Okay last thing now. The Grand Jury system leaves a lot to be desired.

Sabreen60
Member
Sabreen60

Hi AdLib, et al

I heard a former ATF guy make this comment (paraphrase): In all three cases, Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, the cops needed to “back up”. Mike Brown had been shot twice. Where was he going to go? If the cop, Darren Wilson, had stayed in his car, maybe called for backup (which was 90 seconds away), Mike would be alive. If you’ve been shot you’re going to try and get medical assistance.

In the case of Eric Garner, once he was on the ground with five or six cops holding him down and others standing around, there was no need for the chokehold or 4 or 5 men sitting on or leaning on his back. If fact, since the cops don’t really know what he was doing, maybe a conversation would have been in order.

Tamir Rice, the 12 year old child. The cop car rolls up and in less than 2 seconds one cop shoots and kills Tamir. The ATF guy said if Tamir had been a man with a real gun the cops would be dead. He said that it was a stupid action. Well trained police would had never handled the situation in this matter. But the child never had a chance. Plus the cops didn’t know there was a video and initially lied.

Unfortunately, these cop killings are NOT new. It’s been going on seems like forever. Malcolm X talked about police brutality in the 60’s. Hell, James Baldwin wrote about police brutality before Malcolm.

kesmarn
Admin

Stunning that this has happened twice in less than two weeks, isn’t it AdLib?

As difficult as it is to get an indictment for a policeman killing an unarmed black male, it seems to be amazingly easy for the person who recorded such an incident to get into hot water. (And his wife as well!) With a little “help” from law enforcement, that is.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/12/nypd-cop-who-choked-eric-garner-wasnt-indicted-but-man-who-recorded-the-incident-was/

pinkpantheroz
Member

Point to Ponder:

If the Supreme Court has ruled that it is quite alright to lie, then all perjury convictions should be set aside. And if someone is caught in a lie, they can now cite the SC position and walk.

Effin’ crazy!

EXFANOFARIANA
Member
EXFANOFARIANA

If I am still able to post comments here.Exceptional – AGAIN – and shared.But the whole ordeal suffered by the “not the right color” (SIC) in this country , was triggered by Floriduh , when this schtupid state, allowed FauxPropaganda news, to have the right to LIE, under the 1st.
The cancervatives have been waxing the machine, since the President – again, wrong color, was elected twice. You might have felt my other post was racist. So just you know, my older nephew converted to Islam to marry a black, intelligent,Saudi Arabia native and now I have 4 very cute black nephews.. Thank you.

Kalima
Admin

Hi ExFan, no one has removed your comment, so please try to not jump to conclusions. Had your comment been moderated, you would be able to see that “Awaiting Moderation” message below your comment. Please check, I believe your comment is right where you left it. Thanks!

EXFANOFARIANA
Member
EXFANOFARIANA

Thanks, Kalima. I have been quite jumpy due to personal issues.So sorry.;)

Kalima
Admin

Ok ExFan, glad we cleared that up. I hope you will feel better soon.

S-Man
Member
S-Man

Ad,
Not surprising as they are vilified by the media on a daily basis.

EXFANOFARIANA
Member
EXFANOFARIANA

Yet the massive killings on this country, movie theaters , schools, college et al, are perpetrated by rather well off, WHITE MEN.The mo*o Daren Wilson, will never find a place to live in hiding.Anonymous is right on finding him.

Kalima
Admin

A question, ExFan. If Anonymous find him what do you think they will do? Knock on the door and shake his hand? No, they will put his address and details on the Internet so people who are still very angry about the Ferguson grand jury decision can take the law into their own hands. Result: More lives ruined in a few minutes/seconds of anger.

Anonymous has done some great work, but sometimes they go too far.

We do not support this kind of vigilante justice.

VegasBabe
Member

Anonymous has gone to far? When did that happen? Please list the occasions where they’ve gone “too far”.

kesmarn
Admin

If I may weigh in… I didn’t have a problem with it when Anonymous took over the Twitter account of the KKK for a few days there because it sent a message without causing physical harm to anyone (as far as I know). But I sincerely hope they don’t plan to reveal the home address, phone number and credit details of Darren Wilson.

We have to remember that this guy has a pregnant wife too. And that the federal government is not entirely done with this situation yet. The rule of law can be excruciatingly slow and imperfect, but it’s the only way to maintain a civilized society.

I have serious misgivings about any group — and for me, the one that I’m most concerned about is Oath Keepers — that offers to interpret the law for us, and then enforce their version of it. “For our own good.”

We didn’t elect Anonymous and we didn’t elect Oath Keepers. Which means we also don’t have the power to “un-elect” them. Not a good position in which to find ourselves should we object to anything they do.

Kalima
Admin

Meanwhile, lets all hold hands and sing together shall we? How does it go again? Kumbaya my Lord, Kumbaya!!!

Yes maybe we should hold hands VB, and sing about the fact that you are on a site where people actually care deeply about this problem, and discuss it respectfully. Bearing that in mind, in my opinion there is no need for sarcasm here. Your anger is misdirected. We are all on the same team.

For your information, I just heard from a friend that the song you refer to started with an African pronunciation of the phrase: “Come by here, Lord! Come by here!”

kesmarn
Admin

VB, I think you know that I never said that having a pregnant wife meant Wilson has a license to kill. That really isn’t fair.

And I didn’t say that Anonymous had released his personal info. I said I hoped they wouldn’t.

A discussion is fine, but I shouldn’t be placed in a position of defending statements that I never made in the first place.

I hope the Feds bring justice to this situation. But we need to let them do their jobs first. Not step in and do it for them.

VegasBabe
Member

Awwwww….a pregnant wife? well why didn’t you say so!!! that alone certainly gives him a pass free card, carte blanche to maim, kill & destroy young black lives. Perhaps the family of the deceased isn’t aware!

UNTIL such time as there is clear evidence that Anonymous has any culpability, they will continue to receive my support.

Meanwhile, lets all hold hands and sing together shall we? How does it go again? Kumbaya my Lord, Kumbaya!!!

This notion of condemning an effort before they’ve even proven themselves guilty of anything sounds oddly familiar!

Kalima
Admin

This time. They don’t advocate violence but will give details on the Internet just like the extreme RW nuts did about Dr. Tiller and others who worked for clinics where abortions were performed. People are still rightfully angry all over America, some want revenge, but why offer the opportunity to ruin more lives?

If you don’t want to consider the consequences then cheer on.

Kalima
Admin

And encourage to repeat it too. How many more people should live in your crowded and biased jails with corrupt officials making a profit from them while they rot?

If you think that Anonymous is doing a great thing, that’s ok with me. I don’t because through it they are putting others in danger. How can you be an activist group without the support of the public? There are far too many black Americans in your jails already. That was the whole point of my comment.

VegasBabe
Member

People are being murdered, gunned down in the streets. DETAILS are not such a bad thing!!!!! DETAILS may result in DETERRING murder!!!!

Kalima
Admin

Just read this, but as you say, it’s only the beginning of fixing a corrupt and broken system.

—-

No charges for N.Y. officer in apparent chokehold death; Justice Dept. to investigate

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/12/03/a-grand-jury-vote-in-new-york-police-involved-chokehold-case-could-come-soon/?wpisrc=al_national

This is a powerful article that speaks the truth so well, a very sad truth that too many people choose to ignore.

—-

Opinions

In America, black children don’t get to be children

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-america-black-children-dont-get-to-be-children/2014/11/26/a9e24756-74ee-11e4-a755-e32227229e7b_story.html

I left this link on your Ferguson GJ decision post in November, and wondered just how many small town police forces get to make their own rules like this. Mind boggling!

—-

Unorthodox Police Procedures Emerge In Grand Jury Documents

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/seemingly-unorthodox-police-procedures-emerge-in-grand-jury-documents/2014/11/25/48152574-74e0-11e4-bd1b-03009bd3e984_story.html?wpisrc=nl-most&wpmm=1

39 years? Did anyone hear an apology? I didn’t. Good Lord!!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2yV_HLDjMlw

RSGmusic
Member
RSGmusic

HI AdLib again a great article.

It does bring out many things that are just bad about this issue.

Being a minority myself i look at it like this.

The Conservatives/GOP party and officials and to many republicans / conservatives just think it is their right to shoot unarmed minorities and don’t dare bringing these cops to court.

Since the Supreme court has ruled that lying is legal, why not use it to clear Bad cops and Bad private citizens.

The ADA and DA in the Wilson case should have lost their license to practice law trying to use the unconstitutional law as presented evidence . That is straight out fraud!
TO Them Fraud is a lie and is legal.

Again just my look at this.