“I CAN’T breathe!” chanted hundreds of people throughout New York and around the country yesterday. The peaceful protests were in response to a grand jury decision not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, a Staten Island police officer, for killing Eric Garner after placing him in a chokehold in July. The chant is a reference to Garner’s final words before he died. The chokehold—recorded on the mobile phones of bystanders—is a manoeuvre that is banned by New York police. For many protesters, Garner’s death and Mr Pantaleo’s freedom simply reinforce the view that America’s criminal justice system is racially biased.
The timing of the verdict, less than two weeks after a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer for killing an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, only burnishes this belief. Eric Holder, the attorney-general, has promised that the Department of Justice will investigate the Garner case....Continue reading