On Friday, December 5th, 2014 William Bratton, the Commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD) was asked his opinion of the ongoing protests in reaction to the grand jury decision not to indict the officer responsible for applying the lethal chokehold that killed Staten Island resident Eric Garner. The Commissioner responded by saying that people are going to get tired of “marching around aimlessly” (Jorgensen, 2014). Excuse me? I expected more compassion from the leader of the largest police department in the country. NYPD has over 40,000 officers and has always been heralded as the national model for training, technology, and responses to use of force. But it is also the same department that has been the catalyst for protests in the 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s, and now the 2000’s. Why? Because it appears as though they are playing by their own set of rules.
There is nothing aimless about the revolution that has spilled out from the borders of New York City across the country and around the world. Just turn on CNN and you will see people protesting in Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Oakland, Washington, D.C, Toronto, and London. Yes, people are in fact tired but this fire for justice is being done in an extremely organized and peaceful manner. People are tired of injustice. They are tired of innocent people being gunned down with no consequences. We are tired of families being torn apart and most of all we should all be tired of a justice system that is fractured and applied unevenly based of the color of your skin or the number of zeroes on your bank statement.
As Dr. John Kinney says “if you don’t believe and expect change, you will be an obstacle to change.” So let’s use this as a teaching moment. Now is not the time to stop. The organization and sophistication of the protests has been impressive. So too are the faces in the crowd. It has been a long time since there has been so much diversity and solidarity on one issue. Feelings about the injustices within the justice system have moved from a local issue to a national issue and is now firmly on the global platform. Respect each other in the community and within the police. Be mindful of your words for they can incite hate and hate begets violence. Use your tools in a constructive manner (education, government, policy, grassroots organizing, and social media) as this is everyone’s issue. So what is my response to whether protests are aimless marching or organized action? March on…left, left, left, right, left.
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#protest # peace #love #justice #ericgarner #icantbreathe #NYPD #ljsamuel #deardiary
Jarrett. T. (2014, December 5). Protests against decision not to indict in Garner’s death continue. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbc.news.com/news/us-news/protests-against-decision-not-indict-garners-death-continue-n262606.
Jorgensen, J. (2014, December 5). After huge demonstration, Bratton expects Eric Garner protests to ‘peter out.’ New York Observer. Retrieved from http;//www.observer.com/2014/12/after-huge-demonstration-bratton-expects-eric-garner-protests-to-peter-out/.
Kinney, J. (2014, December). A Change is Going to Come. Sermon presented at Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, DC.
Sanchea, R. & Prokupecz, S. (2014, December 4). Protests after. N.Y. cop not indicted in chokehold death; feds reviewing case. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/03/justice/new-york-grand-jury-chokehold/.
Source of photo: azcentral.com