What Do Eric Garner and Michael Brown Have In Common?

By: | December 3, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Justice took a break the day Eric Garner and Michael Brown needed her.

And Justice For None

This post could also be subtitled, Eric Garner–A parallel post.  Last month I penned another blog post called, “Ferguson: Right or Wrong” (http://wp.me/p5jxvv-2y, 11/25/14).  I felt an injustice had occurred when it came to Michael Brown’s death.  An unarmed teen shot dead at the hands of a white officer smacked of injustice.  Approximately 100 people read my post, and my stance was criticized by the overwhelming majority of them.

My readers implied that I was guilty of some kind of reverse racism.  I predict that response will run parallel to the lambasting that I believe awaits my position regarding Daniel Pantaleo, the Caucasian officer that put Eric Garner in a chokehold this past summer which killed him.  Once again the victim is an unarmed black man with his whole life ahead of him.  Mr. Garner was not only relatively young but a husband and father of six.  Officer Pantaleo, like Officer Wilson, Michael Brown’s killer, was exonerated.

As a whole my “Ferguson” readers seemed to feel that Michael Brown’s crimes warranted Darren Wilson’s actions.  “He stole,” some explained when referring to Brown.  “He grabbed Officer Wilson’s gun,” others insisted when defending Wilson.  I backed off, somewhat glad that my readers could find a community of like-minded people inside my blog.

So tonight I ask my critics of Ferguson: Right or Wrong do you again feel the victim’s crime fits his punishment?  According to CNN’s Legal Analyst Jeffrey Tobin, Mr. Garner’s crime, that cost him his life, was as follows: he was selling cigarettes tax free.

In some of my responses to my Ferguson naysayers, I explained what I believed to be a travesty of justice could have been prevented if police officers wore body cams.  Cameras, worn on the body of officers, could enable the public to see what occurred, so they would not lose respect for the law.  However, in the case of Eric Garner, no body cam was necessary.  There was a video!  A passerby heard Mr. Garner’s screams and filmed the incident.  I have witnessed this video with my own eyes since it was played on CNN.  Mr. Garner repeatedly screamed, “I can’t breathe.”  According to CNN, the cause of death was homicide.  Apparently, according to KNX1070 news radio, the police left Mr. Garner on the sidewalk and did not try and resuscitate him.  In New York this evening, protesters are chanting, “I can’t breathe.”  These were Eric Garner’s last words.Graves, two

What is surreal is the juxtaposition of life and death.  As they protest Mr. Garner’s death, marchers are circling the Christmas Tree in New York’s Rockefeller Square.  A Christmas tree, according to my understanding, represents Christ’s birth, the start of life.

Before my readers can imply I am guilty of reverse racism again, I should defend myself and steal my critics’ thunder before they can convict me.  Eric Holder, the U.S. attorney general has insinuated a civil rights violation has occurred, and the U.S. Justice Department has begun an investigation.  Like Ferguson, things seem amiss.  For example, why wasn’t Officer Pantaleo indicted?  Certainly, with a situation replicating factors of Michael Brown’s death, (Caucasian police officer shoots an unarmed young black man, which caused rioting and destruction so recently in Missouri), authorities would certainly want to ensure they had done everything possible to allow for a fair outcome.  As I pointed out in my Michael Brown blog post, the eyes of the world were on Ferguson.  Why wasn’t Darren Wilson indicted to ensure that no stone be overturned?  It didn’t have to necessarily result in a conviction.

My son-in-law just returned from overseas.  He explained that in Europe Americans have a reputation for being violent.  I found out on Twitter today that Americans have an additional reputation: Americans free cops that are killers.

What do you think readers?  Do you believe justice was served, or do you believe, as I do, that when it comes to Eric Garner and Michael Brown, there has been justice for none?

  1. Napoleon

    They were both victims of racism. Systemic racism. Law Enforcement perceives African-Americans as dangerous and therefore are harassed. These recent decisions have reaffirmed this. As black man I can say that Black Lives don’t matter to government.

    • Janice Wald

      I am so sorry you are living in a day and age where this persists. I thought when Obama was elected, things would be so much better. I may blog about it again tomorrow. I’m so mad for the victims.

  2. ropafadzoprecious

    It is very sad that in this day and age we are still dealing with such primitive attitudes. There is no justification, whatsoever for killing someone (crime or no crime) everyone deserves the chance to be taken in and questioned, get a trial and sentenced.

    • Janice Wald

      I tried to stand up for Michael Brown (did you read my Ferguson post?) and people implied I was guilty of reverse racism! Now I am trying to stand up for Eric Garner. Racism is wrong, plain and simple.

  3. Bethany M.

    We definitely need to stand up for those suffering injustice. A tough issue to be sure, thanks for bringing it to light.

    • Janice Wald

      Your words made me feel like a Crusader. I once wanted to be an attorney to fight for justice for people. Your comments made me feel like I did that in my blog post. Thank you for the validation.

    • Janice Wald

      Yes! Racism is a societal evil. I stress that when I teach how racist the Middle Ages are. Are you aware I’m a teacher? Thank you for reading what I wrote and writing me.

  4. Snarky Momma With (

    Hi Janice, I was one of those commentators who disagreed with your stance on the previous post. But I loved the post itself. But today I am torn. The video speaks for itself. That man died. The coroner said he died due to the chokehold being used. He ruled homicide. End of story as far as I am concerned. Yes, Mr. Garner was committing a crime by selling those cigarettes but he did not attack the officers. He could have cooperated more fully but I can understand his resistance to being handcuffed on the street. Yet, if he had simply stood there and let them handcuff him, he would be alive today. But that does not alleviate the truth of the issue here.

    The chokehold is banned for use in the NYPD
    The officer obviously did not intend to kill Mr. Garner but this is what happened. He should have been indicted. He should have gone to trial. He probably would have been acquitted there but, he should have faced a jury. It is a totally different case than Ferguson.

    • Janice Wald

      Interesting position. I agree with you. We are on the same side of the fence this time. I love the complimentary comments Naomi makes about your writing. I find your writing articulate and insightful as well.

  5. Janice Wald

    Did my readers know the title played off the Al Pacino movie And Justice For All?

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  7. Ellen Hawley

    I agree with you on both Ferguson and Minneapolis, and I apologize for not weighing in earlier. Yahoo, in its wisdom, dumped your post into my spam folder.

    • Janice Wald

      Thank you for fishing it out so it doesn’t go into the spam folder in the future. I am the one who owes you the apology. I had technical difficulties over the weekend that resulted in this post being re-published.

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