Ferguson And Staten Island: Some Prosecutors Are More Dangerous Than Brutal Cops

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Pantaleo strangling to death Eric Garner

Who poses the graver threat to the African American community, brutal cops or some prosecutors who enable their corruption and criminality by not letting them go to trial? 

Clearly, the problem is much bigger than whether police officers wear body cameras or not; on Staten Island a videotaped strangler has just been allowed to walk.

A grand jury has now declined to indict Daniel Pantaleo for choking Eric Garner on July 17 to death.

This travesty comes shortly after a St. Louis, MO., grand jury did not indict Darren Wilson for chasing after 18-year-old teenager Michael Brown after a confrontation at the cop car and shooting him to death.

The New York case of police brutality was as egregious as the one in Ferguson, MO.

And the outcome, at least for now, also as repulsive although not surprising.

In Staten Island, New York, Eric Garner's neck was locked in a chokehold, a banned procedure by the New York Police Department (NYPD), by a White policeman, Pantaleo. Garner had protested being stopped by Pantaleo and a detective colleague. A video of the incident, recorded by one of the several witnesses to the strangling, show Garner insisting that he had not been selling loose cigars and that the detectives were harassing him. Garner had been apparently arrested in the past on the same alleged offense.

Rather than step in front of Garner where his partner was, pull out his weapon, order Garner under arrest, and handcuff him, Pantaleo jumped Garner from behind and practically climbed on his back with his arm wrapped around the victim's neck.

Pantaleo kept Garner's throat constricted with his arm even as he started to choke. Garner managed to plead for his life, saying, while choking, at least 11 times: "I can't breathe..." 

This desperate plea didn't move Pantaleo or his colleagues. They left Garner unattended for several minutes after the lethal chokehold, dead or dying, with no attempts to revive him.

Pantaleo of course should have been arrested on the spot for his crime. The killing was ruled a homicide. All the evidence shows the incident for what it was; an illegal execution. 

Garner, a Black man, was killed evidently for having the temerity to question why he was being arrested since, he insisted, he hadn't been selling loose cigarettes.

About two months later, in Ferguson, MO., on August 9, an encounter between a White police officer and two African American youth left one of the boys, Michael Brown, dead with several bullets in his body, including one in the right eye and one fired into the apex of his head as he fell dead.

Here again a confrontation that didn't have to end in the death of a human being was escalated by the White Officer.

Wilson had first driven his car past the two boys before pulling back quickly. He ordered the boys to “get the fuck on the sidewalk” according to Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown.

Wilson later claimed that when he tried to open his car door Brown pushed it back towards him and reached in and attacked him and tried to grab his gun. Knowing how officers are generally rude towards young Black men, it's likely that Dorian Johnson's account --which was provided in interviews with news media on the same day of the incident not, like Wilson's, months later to the grand jury, after coaching-- is more truthful: he said Wilson had pulled up so close that his car door rammed into them when he opened it.

If, as Johnson maintains, Wilson swore at the boys and ram the car door into them, did Brown respond? 

We will never know.

We know Wilson fired his gun at Brown from close proximity and shot him.

And as was the case in Staten Island, the officer of the law also lost his temper and vengefully chased after Brown. Then, according to several witnesses interviewed by news media on the same day --unlike the witnesses the prosecuting attorney Bob McCulloch dug up by the time of the grand jury testimonies-- Wilson shot the unarmed Brown multiple times as he surrendered.

Wilson was not engaged in self-defense since Brown, having already been shot, was the one who feared for his life and had fled; Wilson also was not trying to arrest Brown because even if, as he claims, Brown moved towards him, he could have disabled him with shots into his legs.

Wilson chased Brown because he was angry and vengeful; and he shot him to kill him, and he did.

The criminal actions of the two officers, in Ferguson and in New York, didn't result in a trial because the prosecutors failed to secure indictments. In St. Louis the failure was clearly by design as the shenanigans by the assistant DA's show.

Both Daniel Pantaleo and Darren Wilson wrongfully deprived their victims -- Garner and Brown, respectively --  of life, thereby violating their civil rights.The U.S. Department of Justice which has been investigating Brown's killing, and monitoring the investigation of Garner's, must step in and bring charges Wilson and Pantaleo.    

Things can only get worse if the African American community are given the impression that no institution of government will protect them from brutal cops.

In which case it would be dangerous and even promote an atmosphere of vigilantism as the only form of self-defense.

Editor's Note: Please sign the Petition calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to bring charges against Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo. 

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