The justice system in America is the center of much controversy after the ruling in the Eric Garner case.
Garner was killed on July 17, when New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo was recorded placing Garner in what appeared to be a chokehold during his arrest. Garner’s last words were, “I can’t breathe.”
Pantaleo was not indicted for his role in Garner’s death. An autopsy done by the city’s medical examiner, confirmed that Garner’s death resulted from the chokehold. The chokehold was banned from use by the NYPD in 1993.
In Times Square, a couple hours after the decision was made, about 250 protesters came together slightly north of the NYPD precinct. Many protesters were holding “once again”-themed black signs: Once again, no justice; once again, enraged. The biggest rallying cry was Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe.”
According to the Washington Post, the protest chants went as followed: “The people united will never be defeated.’ ‘No justice, no peace.’ ‘We want a public trial/all we’ve gotten is denial.’ And then: ‘I can’t breathe’ — Garner’s final words. Then, it was quiet again.”
Twitter has become a significant platform for those giving voice to social movements and police officials have utilized social media to respond:
Chief Joanne Jaffe of the NYPD (@NYPDCommAffairs) tweeted that “The #NYPD is committed to rebuilding public trust. #Wehearyou.”
Twitter user Michael Crawford (@dmcrawford) responded, “You can’t hear us because you’re choking us to death!”
The anger spread and led to Grand Central Station around 4:30 p.m. Protesters then staged a variation of the sit-in, known as a “die-in.” A separate demonstration began at Times Square at 5 p.m. with another at Union Square not too long after.
This deep-seeded frustration could be felt by many different races involved in the protests. However, it could be argued that it hit the Black community the hardest.
In a story for BBC News, these sentiments were felt: “Even though America has a black president and a black attorney general, Eric Holder, this will reinforce the widespread feeling in poor African-American communities that the criminal justice system is weighted against them, and that the law is not colour blind.”
Michael Brown, another black male killed by a police officer, had many protestors who were also upset about his prosecutor’s non-indictment in New York as well. The two different groups of protestors showed solidarity with one another.
In both cases, many legal analysts have agreed there’s enough in both cases to at least warrant a trial. These glaring images of unrest and anger prove that America still has a race issue being overlooked.