Choke Holds (Eric Garner)

The NYPD banned the use of choke holds in any situation in 1993. It was banned exactly because it can easily cause the death of the suspect.

The right to a trial by jury is constitutionally guaranteed. It is the responsibility of the police to arrest suspects so that they may be brought to trial. Killing a suspect, when there is no threat, is not just wrong, it is a violation of the suspect’s constitutional rights.

Killing a suspect, even accidentally, using a technique that is known to cause death, to the extent that the technique is specifically banned, is not just wrong, at best it is criminally negligent.

By the way, it doesn’t matter what color the suspect is, or whether or not he committed a crime. Rights are rights. Some of the MOST important rights are the rights we have when we are accused of committing a crime. Let me say that again, some of our most important rights, rights which literally millions have fought and died for, are the rights that protect us when we are accused of a crime. If we lose that, we will find ourselves living in a police state, where government has absolute authority, and the people have no redress.

DO NOT SURRENDER YOUR RIGHTS JUST BECAUSE THEY ALSO PROTECT PEOPLE YOU DON’T LIKE. Unless they protect all of us, they protect none of us.

Ferguson, History, Repeating…

I’ve been around long enough to see a lot of “Ferguson”s, including some in our own back yard. It has happened before, and it will happen again. And every time we fail to understand it. It will continue to happen, over and over again, precisely because we do not understand it. Yet it happens with such predictability and certainty, that surely it is capable of being understood.

The problem is, we ask the questions, but we don’t like the answers. We dismiss the answers as fallacy, and because we cannot make sense of it, we tell ourselves it was a fluke, an isolated event, a random act of senseless violence, and we move on with our lives, and nothing has changed, and nothing has been fixed, and we have all but guaranteed that it will happen again. Until we learn from our history, we are condemned to repeat it.

If you would truly like to understand, read the short paragraph from Tim Wise below. Many of you will not like the answer, but I assure you, the answer doesn’t care. Truth doesn’t care whether you like it or not, and it certainly does not become any less true.

Only when we accept the truth will we be able to learn from it, and fix it, and move forward, and only then will we have any hope of stopping this from happening again. Ignore it if you like, but you don’t get to act surprised the next time this happens.

 

If your concerns about violence are limited to property damage and looting, and you have never shed two tears for the history of institutional violence, murder,colonialism, segregation, lynching, genocide and police brutality against peoples of color, your words mean nothing; they mean less than nothing. Your outrage, in such a case is grotesque, an inversion of morality so putrescent as to call into question your capacity for real feeling at all. So long as violence from below is condemned while violence from above is ignored, you can bet that the former will continue–and however unfortunate that may be, it is surely predictable. If you’d like the former to cease, put an end to the latter, and then I promise you, it will.

— Tim Wise