How to Get Away with Murder: The Slaying of Eric Garner

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“I can’t breathe.” – Eric Garner 

In the hit ABC show “How to get Away with Murder” Academy Award nominated actresses Viola Davis plays Annalise Keating, a criminal law professor and defense lawyer. The name of the course Annalise teaches is “How to Get Away with Murder”, the answer seems simple after the tragic deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, wear a badge.

A Staten Island grand jury on Wednesday ended the criminal case against a white New York police officer whose chokehold on an unarmed black man led to the man’s death, a decision that drew condemnation from many elected officials and touched off a wave of angry but generally peaceful protests. The fatal encounter in July was captured on videos seen around the world. But after viewing the footage and hearing from witnesses, including the officer who used the chokehold, the jurors deliberated for less than day before deciding that there was not enough evidence to go forward with charges against the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, 29, in the death of the man, Eric Garner, 43. During the proceedings, jurors were shown three videos of the encounter and in his testimony Officer Pantaleo sought to characterize his actions in tackling Mr. Garner not as a chokehold, but as a maneuver taught at the Police Academy. He said that while holding onto Mr. Garner, he felt fear that they would crash through a plate glass storefront as they tumbled to the ground, said Stuart London, his lawyer. One of the officer’s arms went around Mr. Garner’s throat, as Mr. Garner repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe (J. David Goodman & Al Baker).”

The death of Eric Garner is a true tragedy and the fact the officer wasn’t indicted is a true miscarriage of justice.

Here is how you get away with murder:

  1. Make Sure your Victim is a Male of Color

Because of racial stereotypes that for over the last 200 hundred have labeled males of color as “thugs”, “criminals”, “aggressive”, “angry” and “violent” when a black or brown male loses his life  or is discriminated against it seems as if no one cares. According to blackstarproject.com:

  • White males with a high-school diploma are just as likely to have a job and tend to earn just as much as Black males with college degrees.
  • Blacks, who comprise only 12% of the population and account for about 13% of drug users, constitute 35% of all arrests for drug possession, 55% of all convictions on those charges, and 74% of all those sentenced to prison for possession.
  • In at least fifteen states, Black men were sent to prison on drug charges at rates ranging from twenty to fifty-seven times those of White men. 
  1. Assassinate the Victims Character

Every time one of these shootings occur rather it’s Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, or Michael Brown the character of the deceased is always brought into questions as if that justifies their death. When Trayvon was killed detractors brought up a school suspension and marijuana usage. A U.S. Congressman blamed Garner’s death on his weight! Tamir Rice’s father convictions for domestic abuse somehow made it into the coverage over his death and Michael Brown has been called everything from a “thug” to a “demon”. These were people, and like all people they may have made some mistakes but they didn’t deserve to die in the nature they did over those minor mistakes.

  1. (If a police involved shooting) Assemble a Grand Jury

There is no definitive tally for the number of officers who are indicted by grand juries after they shoot and kill a suspect on the job. But perhaps the best snapshot of a society that’s willing to take an officer at his word comes from Philip Stinson, an assistant professor at Bowling Green State University who has spent years researching the arrests of police officers for various crimes. According to Stinson’s research, 41 U.S. officers were charged with either murder or manslaughter in connection with an on-duty shooting between 2005 and 2011. For comparison, the FBI reported a total of 2,718 “justified homicides” by law enforcement officers during that seven-year time period. That tally is widely considered incomplete by those familiar with how those numbers are counted. Still, even that low-end estimate suggests that police shoot and kill someone in the United States more than once a day, on average. The overwhelming majority of those killings are deemed justified before the case ever reaches a jury (Josh Vorhees).

  1. Become a Police Officer

As stated above, police officers are hardly ever indicted for killings on the job. Black males are at a far greater risk of being killed by police than their white counterparts. If you’re a black male you are 21 times more likely of being killed by the police than a white male. 21 times greater! Factor that into the systematic racism we have in this country and you will be able to better understand why we’re so angry over the deaths of Brown, Rice and Garner.

Want to get away with murder, become a police officer!

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