To Protect and Serve?

This week, a New York man named Eric Garner was killed by New York police officers who attempted to arrest Garner on suspicion of selling individual cigarettes illegally, after he broke up a fight between two other individuals in the neighborhood. One of the police officers applied a chokehold to Garner and violently brought him to the sidewalk. Several police officers assisted since Garner was a larger man. Garner was unhappy about being accosted and technically fulfilled the requirements for resisting arrest, but Garner did not make any threatening moves to the arresting officers. Instead, Garner was incapacitated by the chokehold and quickly lost his ability to breathe, claiming “I can’t breathe” several times. When Garner lost consciousness, the police officers stood around and did nothing to save Garner’s life, despite the pleas of bystanders that he needed medical assistance. When paramedics arrived, they also failed to administer any life-saving techniques, and Eric Garner died. The incident was filmed by a friend of Eric Garner’s, and the evidence is damning.

Unbelievably, there appears to be those who see no wrong-doing by the NYC police officers here. Some have pointed to Garner as being at fault, apparently because he is black, overweight, or even that he has a name that is too white! I cannot understand the utter contempt and disregard that is being shown for the loss of a human life, again FOR NO GOOD REASON WHATSOEVER! How the hell have we become so callous when a person is killed, and how the hell can police officers justify their actions in light of the fact that they are to protect and serve the citizens of their city?!?

Recently, Bill Maher recited an interesting “New Rules” conclusion to his HBO show, in which he painted a militarized police force that has the biggest probability of robbing us of our individual freedoms. Yesterday, a law-abiding friend on Facebook detailed how he was needlessly threatened and traumitized by two police officers because he had out-of-state plates, with his wife and child in the car with him. The Eric Garner case is similar to thousands of cases that happen in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and most major cities in America, many of which are not video-taped.

I’d like to support the police because I operate under the assumption that police officers are supposed to protect and serve us. It’s hard to do so because it appears that police are more interested in another maxim: to attack and confront.

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Scott C. Guffey
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5 comments

  1. I was arrested six weeks ago in Virginia Beach–for skateboarding on a bike trail. If that wasn’t bad enough, two officers found my merely asking them whether I was being charged with something after they confronted me as reason to assault me and place me under arrest, in full view of hundreds of others. My reason was, to say the least, offended–as was my body, which suffered under a sweep to the ground, knee to the head, a cut forehead and shoulder, mangled wrist–and, like the person in this article, was also chocked by a second officer–while in handcuffs! Spent three weeks in jail, initially without bond because I was from out of state. ‘Merica.

    1. I’m sorry that you had to experience that, my friend. It makes my blood boil, and I fear if I were there, I would feel it necessary to intervene. I would most likely have been beat up for my loyalty and thrown in jail the same. It’s a sad state when we fear our police instead of trust our police. I just don’t understand why police officers are so quick to jump on people and hurt them, for “crimes” like stopping a fight, skateboarding, or walking down the street while black. Is this country becoming a police state, where the citizens are bullied and harassed to maintain “order?” Is freedom in America merely an illusion? Are we to live in fear lest we do not follow the orders of rich Americans, who write the laws, control the police and the courts, and inspire such “law-abiding” fright for the majority of Americans? I know the truth to my questions, and it scares the living crap out of me…

      1. Seems in some places it has; in others, it may soon. I crafted a proverb: Ignorance is a burden, wisdom a plus–but where some know too little, others see too much.

        Through it all, I will continue to pursue and encourage efforts to slow or retract the police-state reality. Sometimes you gotta take some blows in the name of justice :/

      2. When I was a young skater punk, we used to glorify the phrase, “skate or die.” Thanks for giving me more in-depth perspective on the mantra…and power to you in your noble efforts.

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