How Police Were Judge, Jury and Executioner of Eric Garner and Michael Brown


July 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Eric Garner: “It Stops Today!”... and “I Can’t Breathe”

On July 17, 2014, police approached Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Black man, a father of six, on a sidewalk in Staten Island, New York City. The New York Times said of Eric Garner, he was someone who “played chess and checkers on stools near the curb, peeled off dollar bills for children when the ice cream truck came around and served as a kind of peacekeeper” in the neighborhood. As police accused him of selling loose (untaxed) cigarettes, Eric Garner told them to leave him alone. Sick and tired of constant harassment, Eric Garner declared: “It stops today.”

As captured on video, and seen by millions of people around the world, Daniel Pantaleo, a plainclothes cop, put him in a chokehold—supposedly banned by NYPD policy. Pantaleo pushed Garner's face into the ground while four officers piled on Garner, who repeated "I can't breathe" 11 times while lying facedown on the sidewalk. Eric Garner lost consciousness and lay on the sidewalk for seven minutes while the police poked at him, and joked around. Eric Garner was pronounced dead at the hospital approximately one hour later. The New York City Medical Examiner's Office ruled Garner's death a homicide, but the Staten Island District Attorney led a grand jury to exonerate the murderers.

Michael Brown: Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old was walking down the street in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis when he was confronted by a Ferguson cop—Darren Wilson. Dorian Johnson was walking home with Mike Brown and he told news reporters: “We wasn’t causing any harm to nobody. We had no weapons on us at all.” Wilson shot at Mike Brown, and as he fled, and then turned around with his hands up, shot at him again and again. An independent autopsy established Mike Brown was shot 6 times in the front of his body and his wounds were consist with having his hands raised.

Powerful protest and rebellion erupted in Ferguson and “Ferguson is everywhere” was taken up from the campuses to the inner cities—concentrating the epidemic of police terror and murder, and as a challenge to the world to stand up to this the way the youth of Ferguson did. More protest and rebellion broke out after there were no indictments against Wilson. In the midst of outrage and protest, the U.S. Department of IN-Justice stepped in and issued two reports: One identified and criticized some of the outrageous racist practices of the Ferguson city government and police but the other one—the sucker punch—upheld the whitewash conducted by the District Attorney and Grand Jury in Ferguson. Testimony of the killer cop was accepted as true, while testimony of eyewitnesses was categorically dismissed as unreliable. As many witnesses did in fact make clear, Mike Brown DID HAVE HIS HANDS UP, AND "HANDS UP, DON'T SHOOT!" IS INDEED ONE VERY FITTING AND POWERFUL SLOGAN AND SYMBOL FOR THE MASS RESISTANCE THAT NEEDS TO BE BUILT AGAINST THE OUTRAGE OF POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER, AND EVERYTHING BOUND UP WITH IT.



Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian
BA Speaks: Revolution Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live
BAsics from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian
Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)
WHAT HUMANITY NEEDS Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism
You Don't Know What You Think You 'Know' About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation Its History and Our Future Interview with Raymond Lotta