#StillNoJustice: 1 Year After Eric Garner’s Death
Just one year ago today, Eric Garner was murdered by the NYPD. Even though the incident was fully recorded, only the cameraman, Ramsey Orta was arrested and is consistently harassed by officers. Daniel Pantaleo has not even been fired and there has been no trial. There will never be justice for Eric Garner, so there cannot be peace in New York City.
Before Garner was choked to death by Officer Pantaleo, only 365 days ago, he said:
“Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. Why would you…? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn’t do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because every time you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me (garbled) Selling cigarettes. I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. please please, don’t touch me. Do not touch me.”
After this he said “I can’t breathe” eleven times, but Pantaleo kept choking him, with other officers also pressing against his frame. They decided that they wanted to kill him.
Today, a diverse group of activists from across New York City gathered at Columbus Circle, for a rally which featured passionate speeches by the family members of many police victims, including Anthony Baez, Akai Gurley, and John Collado. Other speakers at the rally included American Indians, and members of Shut It Down NYC, the ANSWER Coalition, and Fight For 15. At one point during the rally, in a sign of blatant disrespect, the NYPD blasted their now-common Orwellian message, stating that if we enter the street, we will be subject to arrest.
The rally pumped up the crowd and soon after, we began our march, zigzagging throughout Midtown Manhattan with the police out in force (as usual), and they were actively keeping us on the sidewalks throughout the day. Highlights included the sit-in and civil disobedience at Herald Square and marching through every section of Penn Station, with the main march concluding at Union Square four hours after it began.
Today was about remembering Eric Garner and fighting for justice. But it was also about community. It was about solidarity. Many times throughout the night, we repeated what Assata Shakur said over forty years ago:
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains”
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