Millennium Post

US justice system rejects case, lets down African-Americans

US justice system rejects case, lets down African-Americans
After the verdict, I can’t breath” became the evocative new slogan of black oppression by mostly white law-enforcement in America. Protestors poured into New York City streets on Wednesday night holding signs that read “I Can’t Breathe!” bringing traffic to a standstill hours after the ruling, which came only days after another Grand Jury cleared another white cop of killing an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri.

“I can’t breathe!” were the last words that Eric Garner, an obese and asthmatic 44-year black man gasped as officer Daniel Pantaleo applied a headlock, also called a chokehold, while arresting him for illegally selling cigarettes on a Staten Island street.

Garner, who denied he was selling cigarettes — although he had been previously booked for the same offense — and complained of being tired of harassment by the police, died minutes later.

Onlookers recorded the July 17 incident on their smartphones even as paramedics who arrived on the scene failed to revive him.

Medical examiners concluded that Garner was killed by neck compression from the chokehold, along with “compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” The black man, who weighed more than 350lbs and was a grandfather at 44, had severe health issues including asthma, heart disease and hypertension, all of which were cited as contributory factors.

But after examining the video footage and questioning witnesses, including the officer involved in the incident, jurors took less than a day to decide there was not enough evidence to press charges against Pantaleo, who was backed by the police union. Coming on the heels of the Darren Wilson-Michael Brown incident in Missouri and the killing of another unarmed 12-year old black kid in Cleveland, the latest cop-out by justice system ignited outrage among African-Americans and civil rights activists, including many white folks.

President Barack Obama, the country’s first coloured White House occupant on whose watch such incidents are imbued with irony and poignancy, had to step up to the plate again to soothe the anger in a population that voted overwhelmingly for him and now feels let down.


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