How Eric Garner’s Murder Exposes The Grimness of Police Brutality

When Eric Garner is mentioned, it’s hard not to immediately summon the viral images of the Black man who was murdered by a White cop, on the streets of New York City for reasons that can’t be validated.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo, claims that he was attempting to restrain Garner, and as with most cases that resemble this one, the emphasis for defense is aligned with the exaggerated physicality of the victim, and how the only option is to overpower until the suspect is out of breath and the worst case scenario occurs.

That’s exactly what occurred in October 2018, with Nigerian-American and Bay Area resident Chinedu Okobi, who was accosted by a gang of sheriff’s deputies, after he was reportedly wondering through traffic on the streets of Millbrae. It’s not clear if the officers were trained enough to recognize Okobi’s fragile mental state, but even if they were aware, it’s obvious that they were unwilling to take that vital detail into consideration during the violent encounter that led to his death.

Okobi’s sister who is a marketing executive for Facebook later confirmed that her brother did suffer from mental illness, and the footage that captured the ill-fated encounter depicted the sheriff’s deputies forcibly trying to get a disoriented man to comply with orders that he’s unable to process.

The confusion is exacerbated by the way Okobi is callously manhandled, which increases his fear and alerts him to the danger that he’s facing as he blurts out “Somebody please help me!” followed by “I’m lost.”

After making his escape, the deputies catch up to him and this time, there’s no way out. This sizable Black menace is officially the threat that has to be downgraded and only extreme measures will do.

While giving their testimonies, the deputies resorted to the standard default of descriptions, as they recalled Okobi’s 6-feet, 2-inches tall, 330-pound frame, and how restraining him was a life and death struggle that demanded punches to the face, and the multiple Tasering sessions aimed at his chest, that finally put him in cardiac arrest.

Chinedu Okobi was brutally killed by a non-lethal device because of the way the deputies chose to discipline a Black man, with mental deficiencies, who would’ve survived his captors, if they had bothered to patiently lead him away with the humane method of deescalating an emergency that doesn’t have to end with a Black lifeless body being carted away.

In March 2019, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that the deputies who willfully shocked the life right out of an unarmed Black man, using a Taser would not be facing criminal charges stemming from their unethical actions, despite the glaring evidence of how Okobi was hunted down and tackled like a wild animal on the loose, with no regards for how he was unfit to assess what was happening to him.

Chinedu Okobi was fried to death because he was a Black man who was massive enough to take the shock treatments that were exacted due to the imminent threat he posed to the cowardly deputies, and when he didn’t survive the Taser attacks, prosecutors concluded that his death was warranted because Black lives never matter.

While NYPD commissioner James O’Neill dutifully announced the long-awaited decision to strip Eric Garner’s killer of his police badge, there was a collective sigh of relief that was released. It took five long ass years for the right thing to happen, which is the prime example of why the movement had to be initiated.

Remember how the maddened crowd tried to refurbish Black Lives Matter to Blue Lives Later, with the added insult of All Lives Matter?

It’s the same level of orneriness that has greeted the unleashing of this week’s societal clash between Black and White in the form of a biblical offering courtesy of The New York Times Magazine, “1619 Project,” that traces the beginnings of slavery all the way to our present, and serves as the fitting tribute to commemorate the 400th anniversary of when African slaves arrived in Virginia.

New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, who conceptualized the in-depth series that features an array of essays, photo essays and poetry that poignantly adds educative context to the weighty subject matter of race, acknowledged the driving force behind her need to provide the historic love letter to a savaged population that has earned the visibility.

“This project is, above all, an attempt to set the record straight. To finally, in this 400th year, tell the truth about who we are as a people and who we are as a nation.”

As expected, it didn’t take long for foul-mouthed conservatives to produce the buzzkill in reaction to the ambitious achievement that evidently presents the nagging reminder of ancestral sins that continue to permeate through a biased judicial system, that is responsible for legalizing modern day enslavement of the oppressed.

Former Rep. Newt Gingrich was quick to tweet out his venomous assessment of “1619 Project” with the gracelessness that was laced with the old-fashioned sting of bigotry that has been cruelly normalized.

It seems that Trump and his base of White nationalists are now immersed in the assignment that regulates the demonization of those who dare to call out the obvious, utilizing the terms that aptly define what it means to demean and vilify Black and Brown citizens of this country, who have every right to call out injustice and fight for equality.

The media unfortunately elevated this newly-minted epidemic during the weeks of hell when news organizations like CNN opted to needlessly question White males about the president’s racism.

This disastrous move by the so-called truth-tellers, inadvertently gave Trump and his avid supporters in the Senate, the leverage to question the validity of racism in America, by righteously shaming those who are the actual vctims of systemized oppression.

White supremacy has always been the preferred religion of White America, and now that #MAGA is exciting White terrorists into action with the enabling of their supreme leader stationed in the House of Horrors, we have to wonder about the months ahead with the upcoming elections, and really ask ourselves:

Will Black Lives ever matter?

Even with the police commissioner’s address that delivered the news of Daniel Pantaleo’s dismissal from the police department, there wasn’t any attempt to refrain from humanizing the murderer over his victim. O’Neill in not so subtle terms defended the indefensible decision to exact that fateful chokehold, but managed to add that Pantaleo should’ve transitioned to a “less lethal” stance when it was clear that his victim was screaming for air.

“I CAN’T BREATHE! — Eric Garner

“SOMEBODY HELP ME! — Chinedu Okobi

O’Neill also went on to admit that he probably would’ve “accidentally” killed Eric Garner, which is essentially the glowing endorsement that was owed to the police union, as a way to uphold the legality of police brutality as the standard mode of reducing the Black and Brown population.

The family members of Eric Garner expressed their approval and gratitude, with daughter Emerald Snipes Garner being cautiously accepting of the commissioner’s final decision. She publicly thanked O’Neill for “doing the right thing,” but also pointed out that the delayed victory should’ve happened five years ago.

And since Pantaleo was remarkably never charged for the cold-blooded murder of her father, Snipes Garner is eager to have Congressional hearings initiated, as she continues the fight for justice on behalf of the Black man, who had the air choked out of him for reasons that expose the grimness of police brutality.

Folks are rightfully questioning Jay Z’s controversial partnership with the NFL, that seemingly stabs revered activist and unemployed quarterback, Colin Kaepernick in the back, but there’s still the spreading infection of the societal crisis that can’t be cured until law enforcement gets its act together.

Departmental officials should be rewriting the outdated codes that permit thuggish White cops to kill first, without attempting to chase down the Black teen, who is running for the life he’s about to lose. Or make the extra effort assuaging the fears of a mentally challenged Black man, who doesn’t deserve to be Tasered to death for not readily complying.

Commissioner O’Neill’s lackluster statement is the blatant demonstration of his belief system that endorses the extreme methods of restraint that are reserved for Black and Brown bodies, as opposed to the more humane treatment that White terrorists are given, even after shooting massacres at high schools and the interiors of historic Black churches.

It’s also unbearably tragic that it took five years for Eric Garner’s killer to be banished from the job that he’s absolutely not qualified to ever regain. If a White man had been choked to death in the same manner that’s depicted in the horrifying video, there’s no way that the officer responsible for his death would be allowed to enjoy five years of grace before learning his fate.

This form of modern day slavery that graduates to extermination with no justice in sight is the exact reason why the “1619 Project” has to become the compulsory literary companion for generations to come.

In the meantime we have a White nationalist president to contend with, and the media’s neutralized decorum to worry about as 2020 looms ahead, with no reassurance that the road to progression and healing will sweep in for the rescue.

It’s time to ask presidential hopefuls the question that’s still pending:

Will Black Lives ever matter?

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