In the following analysis, I will include facts and information from the media covering the “I Can’t Breathe” story that has been sweeping our nation. This story is about a boy named Eric Garner who uttered these three small words as he was being held in a chokehold by an arresting police officer. The chokehold resulted in death.
In July of 2014, CNN reported that Eric Garner was confronted by police who were trying to arrest him for selling illegal cigarettes. Garner raised both hands and told the officers not to touch him. Police officer Daniel Pantaleo then grabbed Garner in a chokehold and pulled him to the ground. Garner repeatedly cried out, “I can’t breathe!” but the officer did not let up. Garner was declared dead at a nearby hospital shortly after the incident. Police said he suffered a heart attack and passed on the way to the hospital.
Video is presented from Youtube
Months later, in December of 2014, The Grand Jury’s decision revealed that they were not going to indict Officer Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner. This lead to major outbreaks and protests that have not yet ended.
Many people, such as Garner’s wife, have spoken out against the verdict:
“This fight ain’t over. It just begun. I’m determined to get justice for my husband because he shouldn’t have been killed in that way. He shouldn’t have been killed in any way. He should be here, celebrating Christmas and Thanksgiving and everything else, with his children and his grandchildren. And he can’t. Why? Because a cop did wrong. Somebody that gets paid to do right did wrong and he’s not held accountable for it. But my husband’s death will not be in vain. As long as I have a breath in my body I will fight the fight till the end.” (Ewas Garner 2014).
The pictures below show signs of mourning from the wife of Eric Garner.
Images obtained from Google
This story has been heard by thousands of people all over America and is being supported by more than just “the little people”. The Lakers showed their support for Eric Garner and his family by wearing t-shirts with the words “I Can’t Breathe”, while warming up before a game. The video below shows their support.
Video is presented from Youtube
Celebrities are not the only ones that have spoken out about this situation. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission was more than taken back. Moore said he was shocked and grieved after hearing the decision of the grand jury. He was very upset about the racial matter of the situation. “We have some real problems in our society and in our own hearts and in our own churches” (Russell Moore 2014).
With the given facts, it is hard to agree or disagree with one side or the other. I was physically not there to witness the situation; therefore, I do not have all the facts. Knowing that the chokehold is forbidden in the New York Police Department, I do not agree with the action that Pantaleo took. I do believe he could have handled the situation in a different way. Then again, only Garner and Officer Pantaleo know what happened exactly. If Garner resisted or used hateful words, I can see why the police officer would have taken action. It is a two-way street that I can’t not judge on because I was not there. Regardless of whose side I am on, I do believe that Garner’s family should receive justice in some way. I also think Officer Pantaleo needs to take responsibility for what he has done and learn from his mistake.
Adande, J.A. “Purpose of “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. <http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12010612/nba-stars-making-statement-wearing-breathe-shirts>.
Bloom, Deborah, Susan Candiotti, and Elizabeth Landers. “New York Man Dies after Chokehold by Police.” CNN. Cable News Network, 8 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/20/justice/ny-chokehold-death/>.
Posner, Sarah. “In Wake of Eric Garner Case, Southern Baptist Leader Rips Racism in the Church.” USC Annenberg. Religion Dispatches, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. <http://religiondispatches.org/southern-baptist-leader-rips-racism-in-the-church/>.
Sanchez, Ray, and Shimon Prockupecz. “Protests after N.Y. Cop Not Indicted in Chokehold Death; Feds Reviewing Case.” CNN. Cable News Network, 4 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/03/justice/new-york-grand-jury-chokehold/>.