Eric Garner, Dead. The Officer Responsible, Free.

Eric Garner, Dead. The Officer Responsible, Free.

Eric Garner Chokehold

The Staten Island grand jury considered evidence in the death of Eric Garner at the hands of police officer Daniel Pantaleo for two months before hearing his testimony on November 21st.

It took the Staten Island grand jury a little over a week to determine that Pantaleo should not be brought up on charges.

Queens lawyer Marvyn Kornberg said the autopsy likely played a large role in the jury’s decision.  The report cited several contributing factors in his death such as his obesity, weak heart, and asthma.

It’s funny that they didn’t consider that those factors were not imminently fatal until HE WAS CHOKED by Daniel Pantaleo.


Graphic: What did the grand jury consider in the killing of Eric Garner?


Following the death of Eric Garner, the medical examiner’s office determined that the chokehold applied to him, as well as compression to his chest, caused his death, and ruled it a homicide.

In his testimony to the grand jury, Pantaleo said that he heard Garner saying, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe…” and as a result, tried to loosen his grip quickly.  He also said Eric Garner’s ability to speak suggested that he could breathe.  Officer Pantaleo emphasized that “his intention was never to injure or harm anyone”, according to his lawyer Stuart London.

The officer’s testimony conflicts with the video evidence of the crime.

The video  below shows Eric Garner complaining of harassment and pleading his innocence, then asking to be left alone and not touched: “please don’t touch me”, he said.  Officer Daniel Pantaleo then applied the chokehold that ultimately killed him.  Pantaleo said that while applying a maneuver he learned at the police academy that is intended to “tip the person so they lose their balance and go to the ground”, his arm moved around Eric Garner’s neck.  He told the grand jury that he then became fearful as he was caught between the much larger man and a storefront window.

In the video, Pantaleo’s arms does not appear to move.

Warning: this video is disturbing.


I heard Eric Garner saying “I CAN’T BREATHE” at least 8 TIMES.

Increasingly we are seeing that: to them, WE don’t matter; there is no ‘justice for all’; there can be no peace when WE are being disenfranchised, targeted, and MURDERED.

Trayvon was stalked and defended himself against George Zimmerman.  Zimmerman was found to be not guilty of murdering him because he feared for his life.  Was Trayvon not also acting out of fear?

Multiple witnesses and evidence seemed to show that Mike Brown was unjustly shot six times by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.  He was not brought up on charges because he feared for life, thus justifying his actions.  Was Michael Brown not fearful of HIS life?

12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot a killed by rookie cop Timothy Loehmann after just 2 seconds on the scene.  This case in ongoing, but I’m sure he will claim to having been fearful of his life – despite the 911 caller saying the gun was “probably fake“.

Eric Garner asked to not be harassed or touched, told the officers he could not breathe and ended up dead.  The police officer responsible for creating the conditions that killed him was not brought up on charges, saying he was fearful after ending up against a storefront window.  Was Eric not afraid as he desperately pleaded?

While giving reasons as to why Darren Wislon would not be indicted, we heard A LOT about evidence.  In the case of Eric Garner we had video evidence.

Do we not have the right to defend ourselves when we are afraid?  Is law enforcement now a career where the risk factors must be zero?

I am tired of the blatant disregard for and lack of protection of the lives of African American people.

I am tired of hearing people blame us when we end up dead at the hands of some faction of law enforcement.

I am tired of my people being perceived as threats at all times.

In my thinking I have become more Malcolm than Martin, more Black Panther than NAACP. And this is NOT in the sense of advocating or perpetuating violence, but WITH the understanding that aggressive, strategic steps must be taken if meaningful, substantive progress is to ever be attained.

By doing nothing, you are still doing something: contributing to the problem. Use your interpersonal and online platforms to DO SOMETHING: Educate, Encourage, Engage.

James Baldwin said, “to be Black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” I am fully conscious, enraged,and I am tired of this shit.


 Source 1 | Source 2





Miya W.

Living, working, and writing anonymously in the Chi.

Latest posts by Miya W. (see all)