De ja vu time: Another police officer has been indicted after killing an unarmed black man. Yesterday, a New York grand jury decided that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge officer Daniel Pantaleo with a crime after his fatal chokehold killed 43-year-old Eric Garner during an arrest attempt back in July. Despite the fact that the entire event was caught on camera, despite the fact that Garner stated 11 times that he could not breathe and despite the fact that the Officer Pantaleo wasn’t allowed to put a suspect in a chokehold in the first place according to the NYPD rule book, Pantaleo won’t be charged with a single crime.
All I have to say is W…T…F?
What does it take for an officer to get charged with a crime? If Garner was a white man would his death also be seen as unworthy of a trial? The charge doesn’t even have to be murder; not even manslaughter? There’s an old saying that goes, “a grand jury could indict a ham sandwich” but I guess that doesn’t work with police officers.
In the wake of the Mike Brown decision, the recent death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a police officer, and countless others, it feels like it’s open season against black people and the police can get away with it. As a black woman and a decent human being, this makes my blood boil. What is it? Is it because we’re stereotyped as dangerous thugs? Probably, which is why white people can often get away with crimes that black people never could.
The Eric Garner decision sparked outrage on social media, of course, from angry celebrities and angry everyday people. If you aren’t angry, too, you aren’t paying attention. Here are 22 powerful reactions that will make you want to go out and protest!
1. Shona Rhines, the woman behind Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder, is asking the question that we should all be asking.
How is this America? #ICantBreathe
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) December 4, 2014
2. Just in case you weren’t furious enough…
A Staten Island grand jury *did* indict the man who filmed the fatal chokehold of Eric Garner. http://t.co/wkLaXlvhNV
— Rachel Slajda (@rachelslaj) December 3, 2014
3. Just so we’re clear.
So it’s a crime to film white cops killing a black person but not a crime to actually kill the black person? Got it.
— crissle (@crissles) December 3, 2014
4. In case you were wondering what Eric Garner’s tragic last words were, John Green gave us a reminder.
Eric Garner’s last words. pic.twitter.com/5lbqIEm63t
— John Green (@johngreen) December 4, 2014
5. Cops only seem to have a chance of being charged with a crime in an episode of Law and Order as this clever Tweet points out.
You basically have to kill someone while shouting the N word with a three camera shoot produced by Dick Wolf to indict a cop. #EricGarner
— Travon Free (@Travon) December 3, 2014
6. For those of you who think #AllLivesMatter…
Unarmed man put n2 ILLEGAL chokehold, says he can’t breathe, caught on tape, later dies &no charges?! Tell us again ALL our lives matter…
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) December 3, 2014
7. Unfortunately, nowhere is safe for black men and black women.
— B. Easy (@lifewannaB_Easy) December 3, 2014
8. Sometimes you can’t make something into a joke.
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) December 3, 2014
9. Consider who you’re supporting when you don’t have an opinion on these kinds of issues.
— Candis Tolliver (@CandisLynnT) December 3, 2014
10. And we’re supposed to get excited about cops wearing body cams?
In Ferguson, there were conflicting accounts. In NYC there was a tape, a man dead, yet no accountability. All Americans should be appalled.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) December 4, 2014
11. Some well intentioned white people who understand white privilege decided to show how cops often treat white suspects and criminals a lot better than black people and other people of color:
Walked home with hispanic friends on early release in HS, stopped by police after a mile, everyone got questioned but me. #CrimingWhileWhite
— m i c a w (@alecwiens) December 4, 2014
12. Oh, and remember this kid?
— Jenn George (@jenncaligiuri) December 4, 2014
13. And this guy?
— Nate Ogborn (@nateog91) December 4, 2014
14. But the narrative of black people being stereotyped for no reason is more important.
— rohanie (@rohanie_) December 4, 2014
15. These aren’t just isolated incidents. These are real people with real lives dealing with real racism.
— eBae (@audacityofDOPE_) December 4, 2014
16. And it’s not just an American issue, either!
I was stopped 29 times by cops in E. Europe during my 18 months as a Fulbright Scholar. Police racism is a world issue. #alivewhileblack
— Terrell J. Starr (@Russian_Starr) December 4, 2014
17. Akilah Hughes laying down the truth bombs.
There are people who think I “talk too much about race.” It “wears them out.” Imagine how worn out I am just from living it. #ICantBreathe
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) December 3, 2014
18. Seriously, racism is absolutely exhausting:
know this: racism in all its incarnations doesn’t just pop in and out of our lives, a mere annoyance. it is soul crushing. it is exhausting.
— Zeba Blay (@zblay) December 3, 2014
19. Aaron Paul pretty much summed up many people’s thoughts.
— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) December 4, 2014
20. Check out this grim reminder from Jesse Williams.
Non-white human beings are human beings. Human beings you don’t happen to like, are human beings. Human beings incidentally, have rights.
— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) December 3, 2014
21. And Questlove felt all of our resignation with the world.
I’m ashamed. Mostly because I’m no longer shocked at things now-a-days. Nothing is shocking. #EricGarner
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) December 3, 2014
22. Oh, and just in case you’re one of those people who is quick to blame unarmed peope for their own deaths and sneer at people protesting these injustices, think about this:
if ur desperately trying to justify violence against unarmed civilians in 2014, who do u think you would have been in 1964 or 1944?
— Ezra Koenig (@arzE) December 3, 2014
Are you upset about the Eric Garner decision? Are you surprised by the reaction? Tell us in the comments!