Why African American Communities Must Be Trained In Self-Protection From Thugs Like Officer Pantaleo

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Laughing matter? Pantaleo waved at the camera that captured his killing of Garner

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Last week’s chokehold killing of a Staten Island resident by a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer is another atrocious example of the brutality African-Americans face at the hands of police here —and, indeed, throughout America.

African Americans need to be trained in how to protect themselves against thugs like Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who strangled 43-year-old Eric Garner, of Port Richmond, with a chokehold.

To borrow from Garner, "This has to end."

Since the chokehold is banned by NYPD, will Pantaleo be punished for the violation and face criminal charges for the unjustified death he caused?

Pantaleo appears to be a sexual pervert. He's alleged to have strip searched two males in public in 2012, forcing them to pull down their pants and then slapping their testicles.

Over the weekend, Rev. Al Sharpton became involved in protesting the killing of when hundreds of concerned New Yorkers congregated at Sharpton's National Action Network offices in Harlem to hear him speak about the chokehold killing?

“There are many crises that we are dealing with but none have impacted more and more than the recurring problem with the New York City police,” said Rev. Sharpton. "This is going to be a real test to see where policies are in the city now and whether the change that we feel occurred has occurred.”

The case will no doubt test the administration on Mayor Bill De Blasio.

On Friday, Police Commissioner William Batton announced that the NYPD will be investigating Garner’s death. Two officers have reportedly been placed on desk duty—apparently, including Officer Pantaleo who caused Garner’s death. Officer Pantaleo has been accused of police abuse in the past.

Officer Pantaleo is apparently the one seen choking Mr. Garner in the video recording. During the disturbing violent video, several cops can be seen throwing Garner to the ground—while he was being choked by Officer Pantaleo.  Several times, Garner complains he can’t breathe. He appears dead on the Staten Island sidewalk.

EMS workers also came under fire for their lack of effort to preserve the life of Mr. Garner. On video footage of the incident, someone can be heard asking why no CPR was being done. Did these EMS workers know he was already dead? Four EMS personnel have been suspended, without pay—unlike the cops.

This killing is being compared to the 1994 killing of Anthony Baez, a Latino male, in the Bronx. Mr.. Baez was killed by Officer Francis Livotti  after a dispute—because a football accidentally hit a cop car. “It brings up everything like it was yesterday,” said Iris Baez, mother of Anthony, who spoke out on the Garner killing. “They keep on doing the same thing as before. Like they can do what they want.”

Livotti was acquitted by a State Supreme Court judge in 1995 but was tried and convicted in 1996 on federal charges of violating Baez's civil rights and sentenced to seven years in prison.

That is indeed the awful fact Black people in New York City—and all over America—must change. It’s time to do a lot more than hold protest marches if killer cops are to be stopped. The Black community in America needs to get serious about policing the police who are intent on victimizing the community. More on that momentarily.

The slaying of Mr. Garner is a telling example of the disregard far too many in White America have for the Black lives, hence the conducted of police officers like Pantaleo. Commissioner Garner announced that officers will be retrained on the use of force; that's a diversion. No amount of training can remove the prejudice from Pantaloons heart.

Earlier this week, I was told by two White folk that Rev. Sharpton was the “biggest racist” and problem around—with regards to race relations when the issue of Garner came up. One of them even, gallingly, asked me why Rev. Sharpton had never spoken up for any White person, presumably who had faced racial discrimination.

I tried to reason, rationally, about the idiocy of such statements. Did Rev. Sharpton ever rob anyone—including Steven Pagones—of livelihood or life? Are White people being chokehold-killed in White enclaves by Black police officers? When has that happened?

However, it became clear these two White men had no concept of what real racism is. They just wanted to claim  “reverse racism” nonsense. Racism is a thing of the past they maintain; and Black people who talk about it are merely belligerent malcontents out to smear innocent White people.

The two shut their ears when I explained that simple name-calling sin’t real racism, because it lacks the essential element of a necessary power to victimize the individual—like the power to deny a person a job, loan, residence, or,  in extreme cases such as Pantaleo's action against Garner, deny someone their liberty and life.

Are most Blacks in a position to deny White people these things? Naturally, these kind of questions are never taken into account.

Black people in America—and Whites of real conscience—must seriously engage in a debate, and action regarding the continual double standards built into the foundation of America’s so-called criminal justice system. It’s not just the police—the courts and prisons are all bastions of bigotry toward Blacks.

Many Whites are clueless and callous when the subject revolves around the humanity and lives of Blacks—especially, Black men. One of the men I spoke with parroted the police line that Mr. Garner had sold illegal cigarettes. But when asked if a man deserves to die for something like this—even if true—neither could answer.

And the reason was clear: the dead man lying on that sidewalk looks nothing like them or their friends and family. Would they have even equated cigarettes with loss of a life if the victim looked like them? Garner's humanity, apparently, was not recognized by them.

They din’t seem to conceive Mr. Garner had friends and family—including six kids that loved him. This incident highlighted the “who cares” attitude many Whites have when Black lives are hanging in the balance.

But Blacks must -- only the victims can end the harassment, the violence and racism that is being imposed, not just by police, but by the criminal justice system.

This means the victims must become prepared to defy some laws. Vicious NYPD officers like Pantaleo have been empowered to kill in the streets with impunity. Right now police punks like Pantaleo have no fear of the consequences of killing Blacks.

That must change.

A thug-in-uniform like Pantaleo knows when he kills government officials and the courts will do everything in their power to make sure he escapes punishment for the crime. He is seen waving cheerily at the camera of the young man videotaping the chokehold killing; that's how contemptuous and confident he was.When cops violate the rights of Black people haven’t they delimiting themselves as “peace officers?”The City of New York must also be assessed increased liability for deploying an officer with Pantaleo's  reputation in the community.

At the same time, we must adopt the stance that we will not watch killer cops rob Black lives. The Black community must empower themselves to stop these crimes through training. African Americans who have served in the armed services or the police forces must become involved in training and organizing self-defense teams throughout our communities.

They are constitutionally allowed to legitimately protect their lives.

Since government officials seem unable—or unwilling—to stop sadistic criminal cops like Pantaleo what's the alternative to community-organized protection teams?

Standing back to be terrorized is not an option and then attending funerals is not an option.

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