FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner

Photo Source Paul Silva | CC BY 2.0

I had no idea how difficult it would be to write my book, This Stops Today: Eric Garner’s Mother Seeks Justice After Losing Her Son (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), I had hoped the process would be cathartic, a way to deal with the pain once and for all, but I discovered that grief doesn’t work that way. At least not for me. Forcing myself to re-live the events of July 17, 2014 was just as painful because I had to dig deep and analyze everything that happened.

One of God’s most gracious gifts to us is the ability to allow horrific memories to gradually evolve so that we can go on living. It’s no less horrible or devastating, but with God’s help I have been able to move on with my life. Now my goal is to help prevent others from experiencing the brutality that my son faced his last day on this earth.

As people viewed and shared the viral video many times over, everyone watched as they trapped my son like a caged animal. I have seen parts of it and heard what happened in the remaining portions. My son was so frustrated with the ongoing harassment, especially because he had done nothing wrong that day. Others even backed him up, trying to reason with the NYPD and help de-escalate the situation. It’s true that he tried to avoid being handcuffed because he knew that once that happened, he would be totally helpless, once again at their authoritarian mercy.

He wasn’t aggressive or assertive with those officers. He did what he had always done, tried to calm everyone down and bring reason to the unreasonable, shed light in the darkness. He even asked them to please not touch him. He didn’t struggle with them, just tried to use his words, but they were ignored. This is the part I have not watched, the part where they took him down and he was slammed first into the storefront glass and then the sidewalk. Still he pled for mercy.

As the officers piled on him, one even pushed on his head with such force that he could not get air. His asthma was likely triggered by the stress of the situation and the way they blocked his air flow. It was just inhumane. I can’t imagine a wild animal being treated in such a manner. The cries for mercy and the right to breathe just tear me up. Can anyone imagine if that was their child?

How could I not be able to protect my son? That was my job on this earth, and this was one time when I couldn’t run to his aid. It wasn’t like when he was an infant and I could feelthat something was wrong with his breathing. He was an extension of me and I knew then that he was suffering, that he wasn’t breathing like the other children I’d seen at the hospital. He needed help and I made sure he got it.

Out there on Bay Street, he did not get the same treatment. I was not able to save my son that time. His friends tried to intervene, but they were not able to get close enough to help. They all tried their best by filming the tragedy and proclaiming his innocence, but the police kept them at bay. If they had felt there was no option but to arrest him, they should have done that without the aggression. It wasn’t necessary. And when it was obvious that something was wrong, why didn’t they get help? Isn’t that a natural human instinct, to help someone when they need it? Weren’t they sworn to protect and serve?

At least with the video, the incident wouldn’t get swept under the rug like so many others before it. There was now irrefutable evidence of the horror folks face out here in the streets every single day. Finally, the sheer terror and inhumanenessthat the disadvantaged have to deal with was captured with no edits and no cuts. It was raw and real, the dirty truth of our world made public.

The one consolation was that with this evidence, things had to change. At least this would save other people of color from this inhumanity. With social media lit up by the incident, everyone on the planet finally realized that all people deserve human decency and fair treatment.

With every view and share of that evidence, things had to improve. Others would be saved from this travesty because law enforcement would be more cautious from now on. With cell phones pointed at them to record every moment, it meant that things had to get better, they just had to. I was sure that once people saw what happened, Eric’s death would be vindicated, and the officers would pay dearly for what they had done to my boy.

I was sure of it.

Gwen Carr is the author of This Stops Today: Eric Garner’s Mother Seeks Justice After Losing Her Son.

© This Stops Today, 2018

More articles by:

December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail