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.
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?