(NNPA)—“Never did we think we would be planning a funeral, we were waiting on his first day of school. They robbed us of that.” Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown
“In too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement. In too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear.” President Barack Obama
I had originally planned to use this column to denounce the July 17 death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old, unarmed Black man following the unlawful use of a chokehold by New York City police officers who suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes on a Staten Island street corner.
Garner, an asthmatic who repeatedly yelled, “I can’t breathe!” while being wrestled to the ground by at least five officers, died at the scene, leading to calls of police brutality from his family and members of the community. I had planned to point to the death of Eric Garner as the latest in what has become an all-too-frequent occurrence in communities of color across America—the excessive and often fatal use of force by police against young, unarmed Black men.