I fail to understand!

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The Eric Garner decision leaves questions

I can't breathe - signs being held by protesters in New York City, refering to the last words of Eric Garner. (image: Dave Bledsoe, Flickr)

I can’t breathe – signs being held by protesters in New York City . (image: Dave Bledsoe, Flickr)

After this weeks decision by a Grand Jury in Staten Island (NYC) not to bring officer Daniel Pantaleo to trial after he choked Eric Garner, lots of questions remain. And I cannot believe I’m the only one that is looking and waiting for some answers…


I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND we have another man killed by a cop today. Last night, police in Phoenix (Arizona) shot and killed Rumain Brisbon, an unarmed man who, according to his neighbors, was on his way to deliver food to his family. A police officer was feeling compelled to use his gun,  in a way that left little other possible outcome than yet another dead black man…

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND the police in this country, including the NYPD, can’t show they understand the line has been crossed a long time ago. That having a badge and a gun isn’t a free-for-all, a license to kill.

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND Patrick Lynch, (nomen est omen?) president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, thinks an unarmed man who (according to him) resists arrest, should end dead.

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND who the police union does not address the hundreds of deaths as a result of a police intervention as a problem, especially if the union claims to represent the “good” cops.  I do believe a majority of law enforcement officers in this country are NOT racists or cowboys, but I do not think having a spokesman as Patrick Lynch serves their case well.

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND we must be “teaching children to fear police officers” and tell that “the lesson instead should be to comply with police officers, even if they feel an arrest is unjust“. Can some one please tell this (apparent ignorant) example of a policeman that police is here to enforce the law, not to create it? It’s the corner of a democracy. This shows where the system is broken.

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND a cop FIRST calls his Union (Patrick Lynch and his team of world-improvers) BEFORE he calls 911 to get an ambulance for an innocent man he just shot. Peter Liang, 18 months on the force, had drawn his gun for no apparent reason, fired a shot in the dark before exchanging any type of conversation with Mr. Gurley. The cop and his partner left the building, as it turns out now texted their unions, and only then returned to the building. Mr. Gurley, 28, died as a result of the shot. He was just a man walking on these stairs as he chose not to take the elevator. He leaves behind a daughter of 2…

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND none of the six policemen on the scene are charged by he Grand Jury. Which brings me to:

 

Members of the Grand Jury of Staten Island,

The Grand Jury decides if the evidence presented, is enough to bring someone in front of a court that will decide about guilt or not.

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND how you can watch the video showing NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo choking Eric Garner, and decide he should not face a jury.

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND that an event, called a homicide by the NYC Medical Examiner, where 6 people are in a confrontation with another one who stays dead after the event, can happen without a Grand Jury sending any of these to court.

Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, says in his foreword of the Grand Juror’s Handbook :

The United States and New York State Constitutions have established the grand jury as the authority that decides whether someone should be formally accused of a crime. The grand jury, as a cross-section of the community, is a key part of our criminal justice system— designed both to uphold the laws of the land by indicting those individuals believed to have committed crimes and to protect the rights of others against unfounded accusations.

The whole “Upholding the law” might have meant something different for you than it did for me, and million others.

 

Mr. De Blasio,

Bill De Blasio is mayor of New York, and he’s married to an african american woman. Their oldest son is Dante.

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND how you can talk about the apparent racism that seems to love amongst (some of the members of) the NYPD police, and how you would be devastated if anything would happen to Dante while YOU are in control of who leads it and what its priorities are. I fail to understand you must warn children about the behavior of a service where you appoint the leadership.

You said this week “(Wife) Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante for years about the danger that he may face … how to take special care in any encounters he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.” to a privileged boy such as Dante, how can you for a moment believe the thousands of young African American men will see the NYPD as someone to protect them?

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND how you defend body cameras for the NYPD as the solution for this problem, while three (!) videos of an NYPD officer choking an unarmed man calling he can’t breathe are not enough to bring him in front of court. I think having the cameras might be a good thing, if your authority would fire anyone in the NY administration who’s behavior shown on these cameras is not in line with the rules. Chokehold was ruled illegal inside the NYPD, but officer Daniel Pantaleo is still on the force.

When you appointed Bill Bratton as your Chief of Police in New York, he told us:”We will all work hard to identify why is it that so many in this city do not feel good about this department that has done so much to make them safe — what has it been about our activities that have made so many alienated?” I assume Mr. Bratton hasn’t found the answer yet, but I think it’s not only urgent to figure this out AND to implement the necessary changes.

I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND how officers are not, just like any other citizen, arrested when they are the subject in a murder case. Not doing so gives – again – the impression these people are above the law.

 


I FAIL TO UNDERSTAND how this land of free and home of the brave is still at the beginning of 2015 a land of racism and injustice. I see so many here rooting for the Arab spring and the umbrella revolution in Hong Kong. But now I see those same politicians calling against these manifestations in our own city. Peaceful citizens telling you they fail to understand…

Happy to listen to all who can help me understand,

Koen

 

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