After reading about Eric Garner and seeing the video on Time.com of him being attacked by members of the New York Police Dept. (NYPD), the official ruling of his death as homicide brings mixed emotions. I’m sad that it has been confirmed by a medical examiner that he was indeed killed by the rough treatment he received by police, including a choke hold. But I’m glad, too- glad that the NYPD can no longer try to feed the Black community lies about how Garner really died. The homicide ruling leaves no room for the police’s previous excuses, which include that they believed he was not in any distress during or after several officers roughly subdued and took Garner down with a chokehold, pushing his head into the pavement and practically piling on top of him.
A medical examiner ruled Friday that a police officer’s chokehold caused the death of a man whose videotaped arrest and final pleas of “I can’t breathe!” sparked outrage and led to the overhaul of use-of-force training for the nation’s largest police department.
Eric Garner, a Black man whose confrontation with a white police officer has prompted calls by the Rev. Al Sharpton for federal prosecution, was killed by neck compressions from the chokehold and “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police,” city medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said.
The finding increases the likelihood that the case will be presented to a grand jury to determine whether Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who placed Garner in the chokehold, or any other officers involved in the confrontation will face criminal charges.
Chokeholds are prohibited by the NYPD…
It goes without saying that if Garner hadn’t been Black, this wouldn’t have happened. As you can see in the video, the police repeatedly questioned Garner about what he was doing, and could have walked away after seeing for themselves that he hadn’t been causing any trouble. Would the police have just walked away if he hadn’t been Black? Would they have even stopped to question him at all?
The article also mentions that federal officials are monitoring the investigation, but that the department has not begun its own investigation. Well, at what point will the federal government start taking police brutality seriously? How much more blatantly racist and criminal must a police department’s actions be to warrant a federal investigation? If New York drops the ball on this case, the feds will have no excuse not to step in. We demand justice.