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Justice for Eric Garner: Fire Officer Daniel Pantaleo

This petition had 170,388 supporters

On July 17, 2014, a Staten Island dad named Eric Garner was choked to death by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. The incident was caught on video, and you can hear Garner gasping, "I can't breathe, I can't breathe."

The chokehold has been banned by the NYPD for more than 20 years. The medical examiner ruled Eric Garner's death a homicide.

Despite all of this evidence, the grand jury still failed to indict Pantaleo. Eric Garner was a husband, a father of six, and a grandfather, as well. It is devastating to think that while he lies dead in the ground, his killer remains a police officer on the streets of New York City.

As a black person living in New York City, I know the kind of havoc bad cops can wreak on our community. Black men and boys know the constant fear of stop-and-frisk, the inevitable truth that the cops can throw you up against a wall and pat you down anytime they want just because of the color of your skin, and arrest you if you don't take it politely. The fragility of life is ever present. I was reminded of this just a couple of weeks ago while listening to Isaiah, a 14-year-old boy who looked like me, perform spoken word. His words haunted me then, even more now:

“In my neighborhood, there are no friends forever. Because one day it’s ‘hi,’ and the next day they die.”

It pains me to think that this is the world in which Isaiah lives, one where even those who promise to serve and protect care little about his worth or welfare. They may merely see a brown or black body that represents whatever stereotype or threat that precedes their encounter with him or her.

But what happened to Eric Garner is absolutely unthinkable. I think about his wife, his mother, his children and grandchildren, all of them knowing every day that the man who murdered Eric is still a police officer. Their anger and grief must be unimaginable, their ongoing fear unexplainable.

But we don't have to accept this outcome.  We can’t accept this outcome. If massive amounts of people sign this petition, we can put the pressure needed on Commissioner Bratton to fire Daniel Pantaleo.

The NYPD is already investigating Pantaleo, but who knows how long that investigation will take -- and after the grand jury failed to return an indictment, my faith in the process is weak. We need to take this situation in our own hands, raise our own voices and claim our own power. Eric Garner's killer may not be going to prison, but that doesn't mean we should allow him to get away with no consequences whatsoever.

A person who breaks police protocol and chokes a man to death shouldn't get to stay a police officer.  It's as simple as that. Please sign my petition calling on Commissioner Bratton to fire Daniel Pantaleo.

Today: A​.​J. is counting on you

A​.​J. Walton needs your help with “Commissioner Bill Bratton: Justice for Eric Garner: Fire Officer Daniel Pantaleo”. Join A​.​J. and 170,387 supporters today.