What’s the worst thing that can happen to you if you’re selling cigarettes illegally?
Not making the profit margin. Paying a fine. Or being strangled to death.
Yes, that is precisely what happened to Eric Garner, 43, as he was selling illegal cigarettes in New York. So how did this unfortunate incident occur? Was it just an accident, as it is claimed? Or is there police brutality at work?
According to the report, Eric Garner was selling his craft. Suddenly, he’s noticed by police officers, and they try to arrest him. Eric lifts his hands perfectly peacefully. He’s not carrying a gun (real or toy), there is no knife. But what actually ended his life will shock you.
It was a couple of innocent, if defiant words: “Do not touch me.”His fate was sealed.
Acting on spite, officer Daniel Pantaleo, approaches the man from behind, grabs him by the throat and throws the 350 pound Eric on the ground. Eric, an asthmatic, immediately starts having a seizure. He starts screaming: “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe.” Sadly, Eric expired on his way to the hospital.
Eric was a father of six, and he was earning his keep by selling cigarettes he himself has made. He was loved by his community who has made a heartfelt farewell to their deceased members.
But the officers’ defense was nothing short of golden.
The policemen claimed that Eric had a lengthy criminal history as a salesman of illegal cigarettes. It turns out that cigarettes are worth more than a life of a human being. Not only that, the cameras clearly show the chokehold tactic used by officer Pantaleo. It isn’t an assumption based on coroner’s report, it isn’t a statement by witnesses. It’s cold, hard evidence.
Oh, and that very practice is forbidden by the NYPD.
That, of course, did not prevent the Staten Island grand jury from issuing a decision not to indict officer Daniel. The decision itself is based on “certain limited information” that has, so far, been withheld from the general public by the court. One has to ask himself what is the point of justice system if the public is not informed of actions of the judiciary.
In the end, the whole affair leaves a sour taste in mouth. A human life has been squandered for nothing. An officer gets a free get out of jail card, for which Eric was apparently deemed unworthy of. Doubt has been cast over the entire legal system. Cigarettes cost more than one life. When will the insanity and?
According to the recent Ferguson scandal, Eric’s case, and many other cases similar to Eric’s, are only the tip of the ice berg. Let us hope the ice of concealment soon starts to thaw, and expose other similar cases.