Hearing for Cop Who Killed Eric Garner: Count the Ways this System Protects Murdering Cops

| revcom.us


Millions of people saw and heard the video. A bunch of cops bringing a man down for the “crime” of selling loose cigarettes. One administers the chokehold that ended the life of Eric Garner. Garner’s last desperate words, "I'm tired of it. This stops today, I did not sell nothing." And then,  “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

People took to the streets for many days and in different cities. NBA basketball players and other athletes wore “I can’t breathe” T-shirts to games. People across the country demanded justice. But again, like so many other times, the system only responds with a slap in the face.

A 2015 grand jury refused to bring any charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the chokehold cop. A civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice has been open for four years with no results. Meanwhile Pantaleo has been on “desk duty” all this time getting $120,000 a year. And now? We are led to believe that at last, Pantaleo is being put on trial. But this is pure bullshit.

This is NOT a trial. What started on May 13 was a department procedure, a disciplinary hearing to determine whether or not this murderer broke “protocol” by using a chokehold that is supposedly banned by the NYPD. The charges against Pantaleo are NOT murder, but the “reckless use of a chokehold and intentional restriction of breathing.” And there’s a good chance Pantaleo won’t even be found “guilty” of this.

This hearing is a result of charges being brought about from a Civilian Complaint Review Board. And it must be asked: What does it mean that this hearing has people demanding and hoping Pantaleo will lose his job. When real justice would mean this murderer is behind bars?

The medical examiner’s office ruled this a homicide and that the cause of Garner's death was "compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” But Pantaleo’s lawyers are arguing that Eric Garner is to blame for his own death because he was overweight and out of shape. And they say Pantaleo used a “seatbelt maneuver,” not a chokehold. The very terms of this whole “hearing” are fucking outrageous. But this is the way this system works to defend murdering cops.

And there’s more. Pantaleo cannot be found guilty if the hearing only establishes that he violated the ban on chokeholds. A city law requires charges be filed within 18 months of the alleged violation. So since this didn’t happen Pantaleo can only be found guilty of the violation if he committed a crime—either third-degree assault or second-degree strangulation. And a grand jury has already refused to bring such charges against Pantaleo.

And there’s still more. Even if Pantaleo is found “guilty” in this hearing, the most he can get is the loss of some vacation time or be fired. But this might not happen either. The hearing judge can only make a recommendation to the police commissioner, who will then decide to uphold, modify or vacate the ruling.

So many ways to let a murdering cop walk free.

2014 was the year the cops killed Eric Garner. It was the year 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a cop in Ferguson. It was the year a cop killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland. And the cops have murdered so many more since then. And time after time after time, the system delivers a verdict of “justifiable homicide.”

In Amerikkka it is perfectly legal for a cop to murder a Black man for no reason at all—in cold blood. This is a system that works to ensure these cops get away with murder. A system of white supremacy and police brutality. A system that needs to be overthrown.





Video of cop using chokehold to kill Eric Garner

Bob Avakian, "Yes there's a conspiracy, to get the cops off."


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