Today’s announcement that a grand jury in New York has refused to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who killed Eric Garner—with an illegal chokehold—is a racist outrage but hardly a surprise to those who understand how the capitalist “justice” system works.
Garner, an African American man, died after being placed in a chokehold by Pantaleo July 17, in a videotaped and widely viewed incident during which Garner repeatedly said he could not breathe.
In the wake of the St. Louis grand jury decision in the case of Darren Wilson’s execution of unarmed teen Michael Brown, some have raised the demand for increased use of body cameras for cops as a preventative measure against abuse or to document it when it occurs so that “bad apple” cops can be punished. However, today’s decision highlights the fact that the problem goes much deeper and cannot be solved with video cameras—how much more evidence is needed to prove that a crime was committed? Even in a case like this where the brutality is well documented, the legal system sides with the killer cop and devalues the life of a Black man.
We are facing an absolute epidemic of racist police brutality. Somewhere in the United states, every 28 hours a Black person is killed by cops. Whether it’s 44-year-old Eric Garner or 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, killed by police within two seconds of their arrival at the park where he was playing, the police and legal system is functioning just as it was designed to function: to use racist violence in an attempt to divide and terrorize the working class and repress the most militant elements.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation condemns the grand jury decision and urges our members, friends, supporters and all progressive people to join or organize protests to demand justice for Eric Garner.