The death of Eric Garner and acquittal of Officer Daniel Panteleo–officer who put Garner in a fatal chokehold–is still lingering heavily in the minds of many–black, white, and all races. Protests across the country have been implemented, demanding justice for Garner and charges be brought against Panteleo. Supporters–including celebrities such as Kobe Bryant and Lebron James–have promoted the cause by sporting t-shirts with “I can’t breathe,” the last words spoken by Eric Garner as he was being choked by Panteleo, displayed on the front.
However, if Panteleo’s lack of an indictment wasn’t enough to send a message suggesting “black lives don’t matter,” NYPD cops decided to show support for police officers by tactlessly sporting t-shirts saying, “I CAN BREATHE,” while amongst New York protesters. Apparently, the t-shirts aren’t meant to be disrespectful–even though they appear to be–but instead to send the messages that all police officers are not out to kill black men and that they are here for all everyone of all races.
Needless to say the method in which they chose to utilize to get their points across not only suggests that they lack compassion for Eric Garner, but also makes his killing appear trivial. Unfortunately, Ismaaiyl Brinsley–black male–may have taken the “I can breathe” message personally and as a form of disrespect because the day after the cops wore the shirts, he fatal shot officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, execution style while sitting in their squad cars in Brooklyn, New York.
“Brinsley, who had a long rap sheet of crimes that included robbery and carrying a concealed gun, is believed to have shot his former girlfriend near Baltimore before traveling to Brooklyn, the authorities said. He made statements on social media suggesting that he planned to kill police officers and was angered about the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.”
After Brinsley’s shooting and murder spree ended, he fatally shot himself.