On 17 July, 43 year old Eric Garner, father of six, was put into a chokehold and died on the way to the hospital. Garner was confronted by the New York Police Department (NYPD) for allegedly selling illegal cigarettes on the sidewalk after breaking up a fight, and as he raised his hands up, he said “Don’t touch me.” An officer then grabbed Garner and put him in the chokehold, pulled him to the ground, and then continued to roll him onto his stomach. The chokehold that this officer used is banned by the NYPD and is deemed illegal for its deadliness. It is said that Garner was unarmed. He was also obese and suffered from asthma and heart problems.
A bystander released a video of the conflict where Eric Garner was asking the police to “please leave me alone.” As soon as these words left his mouth, a single officer grabbed him and wrapped his arm around his neck, and stumbled to the ground with him. A second officer forcibly held Garner’s head to the sidewalk. The entire time the phrase “I can’t breathe” was repeated from under the officers.
This event has caused major controversy in the United States. It was the start of many protests that are fueled with the slogan “I Can’t Breathe” to defeat police brutality. Garner’s death caused major figures, celebrities and politicians to contribute to the debates that have begun over twitter and on TV. Bill Clinton even commented on the occurrence during an interview: “He was doing something he should not have been doing,” Clinton said. “That was illegal; he was selling untaxed cigarettes on the street in small volumes, trying to make a little extra money. But he didn’t deserve to die because of that.”
Megan McKern, Staff Writer
Sophomore Megan McKern is a staff writer for the 2014-2015 Colonel. She participates in GSA, fencing, and the indoor soccer team.