Militant Journalism

Chicago in the streets for Eric Garner

On Dec. 3, a small but vocal contingent of protesters gathered in downtown Chicago to decry the continuing police murder of Black men.  Just hours earlier, a grand jury in New York City had announced that no charges would be filed against Daniel Pantaleo for the murder of Eric Garner on July 17.

In a video posted online, Pantaleo can be seen choking Garner, who falls to the sidewalk while telling police that he can’t breathe. The crime that police claim Garner was committing that justified their use of an illegal chokehold was selling loose cigarettes.

Coming so soon on the heels of the Ferguson grand jury decision that showed similar contempt for the value of Black life, the connections were all too clear for those in the crowd.

“Ferguson is everywhere,” declared one activist during the public speakout, a sentiment that was readily shared by many others. The people voiced a full-scale condemnation of the police and their nationwide epidemic of violence against Black people, along with the legal system, which continually whitewashes and sanctions its crimes. Speakers also expressed solidarity with other oppressed peoples struggling for liberation, including Palestinians and the people of Mexico particularly in the wake the disappeared students in Ayotzinapa.

After the speakout, the protesters marched north and south along State Street chanting “Black Lives Matter” and the now iconic “Hands Up!  Don’t Shoot!” Many passersby on the street showed their support, joining in chants and walking along with impromptu signs.

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