A second police officer has been cleared of charges in New York City a week after the decision to not indict a white Missouri police officer for the death of an unarmed black 18-year-old caused the town of Ferguson to erupt in riots. According to the Associated Press, African-American Eric Garner was apprehended by white police officers on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes (individually sold cigarettes that avoid the high taxes on tobacco). One of the officers allegedly used an illegal chokehold on the asthmatic Garner, which resulted in his later death at a hospital, according to the coroner’s report. The incident was caught on film, but the officer, who said he had no intent to harm Garner, was not indicted by the Staten Island grand jury.
The two incidents so close together caused outrage throughout the country, as many saw both the deaths and the refusals to indict as a sign of continual police brutality and persistent racism. Leaders such as President Obama and Rev. Al Sharpton have commented on the issue, and protests are being held in many cities:
[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”8″ gal_title=”Eric Garner Death Protests”]
Huffington Post released a map of places around the country where people are gathering to protest the grand jury’s decision:
Citizens, celebrities and senators have all taken to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with the justice system. The hashtag #ICan’tBreathe, which is what Garner yelled as the officer choked him, according to the video, is trending on Twitter.
Eric garner was as cooperative as it will get..that didn’t stop them from choking him to death
— OSHÚN™ (@aannddYOUare) December 3, 2014
Shocking grand jury decision in Eric Garner case, I’ll be calling on @TheJusticeDept to investigate. I urge protests to remain peaceful.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) December 3, 2014
US Sen Schumer on Garner: ‘The Justice Dept must launch a federal investigation into Eric Garner’s death as soon as possible.’ — Michael Gormley (@GormleyAlbany) December 3, 2014
Apparently even when we have proof of injustice, cops are still protected from consequence. My thoughts are with Eric Garner’s family.
— Adam Rose (@RealAdamRose) December 3, 2014
De Blasio: “It’s a very emotional day for our city.” “We’re grieving, again, over the loss of Eric Garner…” pic.twitter.com/N7NLdlaL1M
— Jim Dalrymple II (@JimDalrympleII) December 3, 2014
“Nobody unarmed should die on a New York City street corner for suspected low-level offenses” NY Sen Kirsten Gillibrand #ICantBreathe
— Teron N. Briggs (@TeronBriggs) December 3, 2014