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"Who is Mr. Garner?" you may ask.
"And why should I care?"
Well, let me tell you: Mr. Garner was ordinary Joe; a man trying to pick at the crumbs on the outskirts of that huge sumptuous American pie. A 43 year old man who had a grandmother, a mother, a wife, and six children (including a three month old baby). A black man trying to make a living on Staten Island, New York.

And now he is dead and will be buried today.

The facts surrounding Eric Garner's death have been written about on here before.
Big man selling cigarettes on the sidewalk, depriving the state of much needed tax revenue, you know. Selling single cigarettes to people who cannot afford to buy a pack. Cops who cannot abide the appearance of illegality, the stench of impropriety (in NY), harass him daily. Man expresses his frustration at being over-policed not understanding that the cops are our new masters. When they speak, no dog is supposed to bark. You say, "Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes'm. No'm." And if you are lucky, you may be allowed to walk away with your life. Especially if you are black or brown.

Over zealous, racist law enforcement officers tackled Eric, threw him to the ground and put him in an illegal choke-hold. A technique that was banned after it was used on a brown man who had the temerity to hit a police car with a ball. "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" the dying man gasped as they grounded his face into the sidewalk.

(Warning! Brutality and death.)

You think that's the worst of it? Wait, there's more: The paramedics arrived on the scene and for some reason something prevented them from seeing a dying man who needed help. The dying man for whom they were called. No one offered CPR, no one offered help. According to medical experts, Mr. Garner would not be in a coffin waiting to be committed to his grave if someone had just helped him. Just a little help.

A noted pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht, told The New York Daily News that Garner could have lived had he received appropriate medical care at the scene or had anyone simply lifted him off the sidewalk and placed him in a sitting position.

There's a move afoot to justify the death of Eric Garner. He was a baad man, it seems. He had an extensive police record, we are being told. See for yourself:

Meanwhile, police said Garner has been arrested 31 times since 1988 on charges such as drug possession, selling untaxed cigarettes and assault. He was last arrested in May for selling untaxed cigarettes, court records show. Since 2009, he was arrested nine different times for selling illegal cigarettes.
He paid the ultimate price for selling untaxed cigarettes. What a truly fucked up world.

I may not have adequately answered the question as to why you should care about Mr. Garner's funeral today. Let me ask Rev. Al to help. He will be there with the family as they put their loved one to rest this evening.
He put it this way:

Every time I comfort a grieving family member who has lost a loved one to police brutality, I hope and pray that it will be the last time. But deep down, I know it won't be.

Originally posted to JoanMar on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 11:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Prison Watch, Police Accountability Group, Support the Dream Defenders, Black Kos community, Barriers and Bridges, and White Privilege Working Group.

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