Eric Garner

The officer who choked Eric Garner to death on camera was not indicted by Staten Island grand jury just now. Expose yourself to this: Do not hide from it. Do not pretend it didn’t happen. Do not pretend the system is just and fair for all people. Imagine you are Eric. Imagine the harassment he faces every day, leading to his reaction when law enforcement starts engaging him after he just broke up a fight. He was doing the job police would have had to do had he not been there. They should have been thanking him. Listen to Eric’s words before he died. “I’m just minding my business, please just leave me alone.” Imagine the fear, the panic as you tell the officers you can’t breathe over and over and yet that arm stays there, firmly around your neck.

Now imagine you are the parent of a black son. Imagine all the training you have to give your son, teaching him to prioritize his safety over his dignity and humanity when interacting with law enforcement. Imagine how many times he’ll interact with law enforcement because of the color of his skin! Imagine the fear you feel, wondering each day whether he’ll even make it home. Imagine having to adjust to this reality, knowing it’s just the way things are here.

One more cop using excessive force walks free. With each non-indictment, each non-conviction, the message becomes stronger and stronger: if you are a police officer, it is legal to kill black people.

Are you okay with this being the status quo or will you work to change it?

By Kevin Daum

Generic anti-oppression contemplative activist. Django development pays the bills.

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