On the heels of the violent protests in Ferguson, comes the decision not to indict the officers that caused the death of Eric Garner. Some would say he caused his own death by resisting arrest. Could the answer be as simple as: Do not resist arrest? You will have your day in court and if you’re not guilty of wrongdoing, you will be exonerated. Sure it will cost you the legal fees and the inconvenience of time in court, and the entire process it will take to clear your name, but at least you will be alive.
What about the people with businesses and homes looted by protesters in Ferguson? Weren’t their rights violated? Wasn’t their life and livelihood just as valuable as young Mr. Brown’s? Just because there is a business name on the front, doesn’t mean there aren’t real people behind it.
In the case of both of these big men, the real reason they are dead is that they resisted arrest. However else you feel about the way their arrest was handled, Mr. Garner and Mr. Brown resisted arrest. Yet, on the flip side police everywhere need to do more to ensure use of excessive force is only used when their life or the lives of innocent bystanders are in danger. This needs to be driven into their heads, frequently and ferociously, because the lives of the people in their community are in their hands. It is not only their job, but their responsibility to “Serve and Protect.”
According to CBS New York: President Barack Obama said the Garner case “speaks to the larger issues that we’ve been talking about now for the last week, the last month, the last year and, sadly, for decades, and that is the concern on the part of too many minority communities that law enforcement is not working with them and dealing with them in a fair way.” You can read the rest of that article, “Grand Jury Decides Not to Indict Cop in Eric Garner Chokehold Case” at http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/12/03/sources-grand-jury-decides-not-to-indict-cop-in-eric-garner-chokehold-case/.
This should not be an issue of race. Fair and equal application of the law is the guaranteed right of every citizen. We need to make it right for everyone, including the police officers. It may sound trite to say that these police officers must live with their actions for the rest of their lives, but it’s true. Some will say, at least they have life. They may not be able to sleep at night, but at least they’re not in permanent slumber. I’m sure none of the officers involve in these two tragedies went to work thinking, I’m going to end someone’s life today. As I’m sure when Mr. Garner and Mr. Brown left home they didn’t consider they would never return.