Today marks one year since the NYPD brutally killed Eric Garner. In a horrifying video of Garner's death, he can be seen crying out, “I can’t breathe,” more than 11 times as police strangled him in an illegal choke hold.1
The officers who killed Garner and left him to die still have their jobs and the power of the badge. The Department of Justice is investigating, but hasn't charged one officer.2 City officials have also failed to address the core problems that led to Garner's killing and discriminatory policing practices, such as "Broken Windows" policing, rage on.3
Recently, the Garner family received a $5.9 million settlement, but a settlement isn't justice. In the words of Gwen Carr, Eric's mother, "victory will come when we have justice."4 Tomorrow, ColorOfChange is joining the family members of Eric Garner and Ramarley Graham for a rally to ramp up pressure on the Department of Justice to indict these killer cops.5
Will you add your voice to the growing calls for justice and join more than 100,000 ColorOfChange members in urging US Attorney General Loretta Lynch to indict the police who killed Eric Garner and Ramarley Graham?
Families should not have to spend years fighting for justice for their loved ones killed by police. But for thousands of Black families across the country, that is an every day reality. Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, Tanisha Anderson, Mya Hall, Freddie Gray, Dajerria Becton, and most recently Sandra Bland, are just a few of the police brutality cases the Department of Justice is yet to prosecute. The DOJ's failure to do it's job and hold abusive and discriminatory police accountable in a timely and effective manner has had an unconscionable human toll.
Since Eric Garner was killed, at least 12 Black people have been killed in New York, and countless others unjustly stopped and harassed.6 Last February, NYPD Officer fatally shot 28-year-old Akai Gurley as he walked up the stairs of an apartment building with his girlfriend.7 And in response to the growing resistance to the NYPD's discriminatory practices, law enforcement is under reporting the number of times they stop and search people, creating an illusion of reform.8 In fact, the number of settlements New York has paid out for victims of police violence has sky rocketed in recent years.9
But in the face of injustice, we cannot back down. Recently, New York families spent months campaigning for a special prosecutor to oversee police killings in New York — and won 8 It is an incredible step in the right direction and speaks volumes to the power of Black and brown folks to create a safer and more just world for our communities. On this tragic 1 year anniversary, we must renew our calls for justice and send a clear message to our national leaders that we will not stop until justice is served.
Urge Attorney General Loretta Lynch to indict the police who killed Eric Garner and Ramarley Graham, and pave the way for even greater police accountability.
Thanks and peace,
Rashad, Arisha, Shani, Lyla and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
July 17th, 2015
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1. "One Year Later, Remembering Eric Garner," New York Times 07-17-15
2. "Officer Who Put Eric Garner in Fatal Choke Hold Would Like His Old Job Back," New York Magazine 07-13-15
3. "New York Police Department Is Undercounting Street Stops, Report Says," New York Times 07-09-15
4. "Eric Garner's Family Urges Justice Department To Prosecute Officer," NPR 07-14-2015
5. Communities United for Police Reform Upcoming Events
6. "The Counted," The Guardian
7. "Officer Charged in Akai Gurley Case Debated Reporting Gunshot, Officials Say," NYTimes 02-11-2015
8. See reference 3.
9. "Cost of Police-Misconduct Cases Soars in Big U.S. Cities," Washington Post 07-15-2015