Thursday, December 4, 2014

‘I Can’t Breathe!’ ‘I Can’t Breathe!’ A Moral Indictment of Cop Culture - The Daily Beast

Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold
‘I Can’t Breathe!’ ‘I Can’t Breathe!’ A Moral Indictment of Cop Culture - The Daily Beast:
by Michael Daly
"Even though a grand jury chose not to indict the cop who killed Eric Garner, the video is damning of police. How could they ignore a dying man's plea for air? The grand jury has spoken, but that does not change what Eric Garner cried out in the cellphone video taken as police pinned him to a Staten Island sidewalk. “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Garner said again and again that August day.
 And even though the grand jury has now chosen not to bring criminal charges in Garner’s death, the video footage that follows those cries constitutes a moral indictment not so much of what the police did but of what the police did not do. 
“At that point, forget the cop side,” a longtime veteran police officer not party to the incident says of the moment Garner cries out. “The human side comes in.” Yet the cops do not seem even to hear Garner. “I don’t see anyone in that video saying, ‘Look, we got to ease up,’” says the veteran officer. “Where’s the human side of you in that you’ve got a guy saying, ‘I can’t breathe?’” The veteran officer goes on, “Somebody needs to say, ‘Stop it!’
That’s what’s missing here was a voice of reason. The only voice we’re hearing is of Eric Garner.” The veteran officer believes Garner might have survived had anybody heeded his pleas. “He could have had a chance,” says the officer, who is black. “But you got to believe he’s a human being first. A human being saying, ‘I can’t breathe.’”
 What may have saved Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo from indictment is that a close examination of the video shows he had had released his chokehold on Garner just before the 43-year-old father of six began crying out that he could not breathe. Pantaleo by then was shifting around to press the prone man’s head into the pavement."

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