The name Eric Garner is now enshrined in the grim annals of history.
It joins Mike Brown, Rahmarley Graham, Alan Blueford, Dontre Hamilton, Tamir Rice, and thousands of others, who were murdered by those their taxes have helped pay: cops.
In many ways, Garner’s case is even more egregious than Brown’s, for it was videotaped, and one sees his takedown, his incessant choking, his unconsciousness – and shortly thereafter – his death.
Now, the words “I can’t breath” have become joined with the cry “Hands Up!”- reminders of the Garner and Brown killings at the hands of police.
Both cases are also noted for the behavior of grand juries, which now appear reckless beyond belief, in their inability to return indictments against cops.
The grand jury emigrated here from England, where, as it was then called, ‘grand assizes’, a body of about a dozen knights, under the direction of a baron (or some other noble), would investigate cases and charge people.
Later, they became tools of the king.
Today, they are instruments of the prosecutors, and used, just as under kings, to target whom they wish – and to clear whom they wish.
Outrage stems from the long history of its use to protect cops -yes-even killer cops.
This, while the nation is awash in mass incarceration, the majority of whom have never had a grand jury indictment, unlike the average cop.
The System is constructed to protect their minions (the cops), no matter how outrageous their behavior. That’s just a fact.
And as the nation now celebrates historic events from the civil rights movement of a half-century ago, the grim and ugly present of Black life-and Black Death-in America, makes that glowing history feel hollow indeed.