As one of my Twitter friends noted yesterday regarding the decision not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner: James Holmes, who shot and killed 12 people while wounding 70 others in an Aurora movie theater, was apprehended alive. But Garner, an unarmed African-American 43-year-old and father of six had to be illegally choked to death in order to be subdued by Pantaleo. Despite the fact that the coroner ruled Garner’s death to be a homicide, the grand jury committed yet another injustice against the African-American community by refusing to indict Pantaleo.
There only needs to be a majority for a grand jury to indict or not. 15 panelists on the 23-member grand jury in the Pantaleo case were white. That’s not necessarily an outright indication of racism, but at the very least it’s fair to suggest that the 15 white panelists will never truly understand what life was like for men like Eric Garner — to be stopped-and-frisked or to be relentlessly watched or unjustifiably profiled by law enforcement. It’s no wonder that Pantaleo wasn’t indicted. When reviewing the video of Garner objecting to being targeted by two officers, the white panelists were racially incapable of relating to why Garner was angry and simply reached the conclusion that his actions justified being suddenly swarmed by half-a-dozen officers who appeared out of nowhere, wrestling him to the ground, choking him and forced his skull into the pavement until his heart stopped.
But instead of attempting to understand the full scope of what men like Eric Garner have had to endure, we too often hear closed-minded white people suggest that the number of black men profiled and killed by police during arrest scenarios is merely commensurate with the black male crime rate. And this is supposed to make profiling and excessive force okay.
It’s a cheap and superficial argument, insinuating that black men are somehow asking for it. Throughout the day yesterday, I heard from various people, especially Joe Scarborough supporters, who told me that Michael Brown and Eric Garner decided their own fates, both individually and societally, even though, in a fair and just world, neither of them deserved summary executions in the street.
Even though many in the Scarborough camp refuse to accept statistical reality (a sign of possible racial bias itself), let’s take a look at some of the massive disparities between the white and black experiences within the judicial system.
–Right off the bat… CONTINUE READING