Student assaults 3 Chesterfield teachers, 2 officers
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Man killed on Richmond sidewalk

VCU students march, shut down Broad St. in solidarity for Eric Garner

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RICHMOND, Va. -- VCU students participated in a national "Die-in" on the Wednesday that a New York grand jury decided not to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of  Eric Garner.

During the fatal encounter July 17 on Staten Island, Garner raised both hands in the air and told the officers not to touch him. Seconds later, a video shows an officer behind Garner grab him in a chokehold and pull him to the sidewalk, rolling him onto his stomach. The New York City Police Department prohibits chokeholds.

"I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" Garner said repeatedly, his cries muffled into the pavement.

Garner, 43, was pronounced dead that day. Police had suspected Garner of selling cigarettes illegally.

VCU students marched along Broad Street shouting "I can't breathe, we have to fight back," and then began to lie in the street near the Siegel Center. They also shouted words a nation has become familiar with after a Michael Brown, a Ferguson, Mo. teen who was shot in an interaction with police officer Darren Wilson, a case that has been vehemently debated  and also led to international protests.

The decisions came within nine days of one another.

The intention of dozens of VCU students, was to lie in the street for 11 minutes, representative of the 11 times that Garner said he could not breathe, as he was held in a chokehold.

The grand jury was made up of 14 white and nine nonwhite members, according to law enforcement sources. A total of 12 jurors who have heard all the evidence must be in agreement for a decision. The grand jury found that there was no "reasonable cause" to indict.

The case became emblematic of longstanding tensions between police and minority communities, especially given that the majority of people stopped under the former "stop-and-frisk" police policy were African-American or Hispanic.

A federal court ruled that stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional and tantamount to racial profiling.

The Garner death led to demonstrations around the city and came weeks before the racially charged police shooting of Brown, who was unarmed, in Ferguson.

'National moment of grief"

President Barack Obama said the Garner case reflected a longtime "concern on the part of too many minority communities that law enforcement is not working with them, and dealing with them in a fair way."

"We are not going to let up until we see a strengthening of the trust, and a strengthening of the accountability that exists between our communities and our law enforcement," he said.

Standing outside the Staten Island store where his son was put into a fatal chokehold, Garner's father, Ben, told a crowd that he was hopeful about the federal investigation and urged demonstrators to remain peaceful.

"We want justice for Eric," he said. "We ain't tearing up nothing. We ain't burning up nothing... The police is our problem. No violence. That is all I ask."

Mayor Bill de Blasio sought to allay tensions, saying that he had received assurances from Washington that the federal investigation of Garner's death would move forward "expeditiously and with a clear sense of independence."

De Blasio said the grand jury decision has created "a national moment of pain, a national moment of grief and searching for a solution."

Pantaleo, according to a statement from his union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said: "I became a police officer to help people and to protect those who can't protect themselves. It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner. My family and I include him and his family in our prayers and I hope that they will accept my personal condolences for their loss."

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan Jr. said the grand jury conducted dozens of interviews with witnesses, including 22 civilians, and met between September 29 and December 3. An attorney for Pantaleo said his client testified for approximately two hours on November 21 in front of the grand jury.

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, called the decision "a miscarriage of justice" an "outrage" and a "disgrace."

"He was killed in plain sight for all of America to see because this was captured on video. And so it's inexplicable that this grand jury could not return a single charge," said Jeffries.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said, "there are no winners" from the grand jury decision.

"It is clear that the officer's intention was to do nothing more than take Mr. Garner into custody as instructed and that he used the take-down technique that he learned in the academy when Mr. Garner refused," Lynch said. "No police officer starts a shift intending to take another human being's life and we are all saddened by this tragedy."

Brown and Garner

The grand jury's decision came on the same day that the New York Police Department, in an attempt to bolster public confidence, announced plans to start having some officers wear body cameras.

"When something happens, to have a video record of it, from the police officers' perspective, is going to help in many, many ways," de Blasio told reporters. "And God forbid, when something goes wrong, we are going to have a clearer understanding of what happened."

Parallels mark the deaths of Garner and Brown, both black, starting with crimes they were suspected of: Brown allegedly stole cigars from a convenience store; Garner was allegedly selling cigarettes tax-free.

Another similarity that has become the hallmark of protests in Ferguson: Garner put his hands up in the air, as the crook of Pantaleo's elbow tightened around his throat. Some eyewitnesses have said Brown also made that gesture in surrender. But other witnesses contradicted them.

No video was rolling, so doubts over that and other details will always hang over the moment that former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot the unarmed teen.

That has led Obama to call for law officers all over the country to record their operations with body cameras.

In Garner's case, there can be little doubt what happened.

Before he gasped what appeared to be his final breaths, someone hit record on a cell phone camera. The details of his takedown spread through the Internet as the video went viral.

Wilson and Pantaleo

In the Ferguson case, Wilson argued before the Missouri grand jury that he shot Brown -- who Wilson said tried to wrest away his gun and then charged at him -- in self-defense.

In the Staten Island cell phone video, Garner did not go after Pantaleo but had his back to him; the officer jumped him from behind then tackled him to the ground.

The New York Medical Examiner has ruled Garner's death a homicide. The cause of death was "compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police."

But the medical examiner also listed acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity and hypertensive cardiovascular disease as contributing factors in Garner's death.

In Ferguson, Wilson went into hiding after death threats and kept his status of police officer but was placed on leave. He resigned shortly after the grand jury decision. After the chokehold, Pantaleo was put on modified assignment and stripped of his badge and gun amid the investigation, and the NYPD's commissioner ordered an extensive review of training procedures.

Two lawsuits have previously been filed against Pantaleo. The plaintiffs in both suits allege false arrest, unlawful imprisonment, civil rights violations and other charges.

One suit from 2013 was dismissed in January 2014, while the second, from February 2014, remains open.

Ferguson and New York

In both Ferguson and New York, mostly African-American protesters took to the streets for weeks after both men died to decry police violence.

Demonstrators in New York have called the police response during Garner's arrest excessive and criminal, but during protests, the contact between police and demonstrators has been largely cordial.

Missing were the tear gas canisters, assault rifles, armored vehicles and the lootings and flying bottles that marred the St. Louis suburb in the wake of Brown's death.

When the Missouri grand jury declined to charge Wilson, violence returned to Ferguson, as shot were fired, stores were looted and cars were set on fire.

CNN's Dana Ford, Catherine E. Shoichet, Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley, Ben Brumfield, Daniel Verello and Leigh Remizowski contributed to this report.

 

91 comments

  • Joel Belcher

    Good grief. Here come all the racist comments. First from trashy low class white people and then responses from the militant fed-up black people. Soon, WTVR will simply cease airing all of these nasty, ignorant comments. They will stop the comments section altogether. That will be a great day. Far too many low IQ people, usually the same people, making vile comments.

    • Vivek

      Joel: “trashy low class white people”? “Militant fed-up black people”? Do you realize that the idea of distinct races is a fiction? That’s not to say that the concept of race doesn’t have power, or that racism isn’t real (it is). Take a look at this piece about Theodore Allen’s work: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/21/the-invention-of-the-white-race/print Many people in America who have ancestry in Europe and light colored skin, and who have passively accepted their “whiteness” or who think themselves “white” because that’s what they’ve been told they are, if they were to learn about the history of how the concept of race was developed, once informed, might reject the label because it’s nonsense. “Black”, “white”, “brown,” are not very descriptive; as adjectives or nouns they don’t tell us very much about the humans these terms are thoughtlessly associated with.

    • spewing poo

      If it is so distasteful for people that want to live on fantasy island.rbing than leave.MSN and CNN are tailor mad

    • Vivek

      It’s tragic that you don’t realize that the ruling class (the 1%) and the state agencies that serve the 1% have contempt for you. The ruling class thinks nothing of depriving the 99%, of brutalizing, harassing, exploiting, and extinguishing the lives of ordinary people. You have more in common with the victims of police and state violence than you do with the uniformed murderers or with the billionaire class that the thugs serve. Wake up, bro.

  • Scott

    Stupid!! What a waste of time! Go to New York to protest.what good are you doing here? Show support somewhere that’s not a nuisance and quit trying to provoke police.there are other ways to show support than for 50 people sitting in the street.do you actually think you’ll make national headlines? Hope nothing bad happens to someone while cops are babysitting your wasted protests.

    • Vivek

      Scott, comments like yours make me wonder what it is about American society that brainwashes millions of people to take sides with the fascists. Do you not understand the importance of class solidarity, of interdependence, mutual responsibility, of community? The students and participants and organizers should be commended for their courage and for demonstrating their humanity. The police, and not just the RPD or county police but all police, are not your friends. The police don’t serve and protect the public. Their primary function is to serve and protect the super-rich and their property, and to oppress the public, and to discourage or prevent social revolt and rebellion. Why don’t you take your membership of the human race more seriously?

  • BG

    We live in the capital city of the Confederacy. Some of these comments are not surprising in the least. When a minority dies by the hand of police violence, rather than investigate the issue, these racists spend their energy demonizing the victim(s). While I’m sure these racists feel that the exact same demonization is being levied at the police, it is typically noted only to justify their racist stance. People are tired of this scenario playing out. So be it.

    • manlishi

      Stick to the facts, statistics and realities of this case as well as the Michael Brown scenario and your racist/race card doesn’t even apply. Democrats are all the same.

  • Lisa

    I don’t know all the facts in the case, but from looking at the video on youtube it seems like it was very possible for the police to manage the situation in a more peaceful and low-key manner. When on a scene the police need to stay in control, but the only tool to accomplish that doesn’t always need to be domination and intimidation.

    • B ADDY

      What are you proud of ? A bunch of liberal kids with zero life experience protesting for criminals?
      Supporting criminals is not something to be proud of.

      • PAM

        B ADDY SHUT THE H3LL UP BYTCH!!! THIS MAN WAS MURDERED AND NOT RESISTING ARREST. WAIT UNTIL THEY START MURDERING YOUR KIDS!!! BUT THEN AGAIN ISIS GOT THAT COVERED ALREADY. DUMB A$$ BYTCH

      • PAM

        B ADDY,what the phuck you mean what is she proud of???? you are one dumb fat a$$ kracker!!!! She is proud because they are standing up for injustice dumb a$$ bytch. All you do is sit on your fat a$$ and talk shyt about something you know nothing about. You, kracker a$$ Manalishi bytch a$$ and kracker and Sammy another bytch.

      • B ADDY

        LOL!!! Pam each keystroke displays your obvious stupidity. Hilarious to try to read though. Your daddy would be proud if you had a clue what his name was.

  • Jimmy Walton

    The media keeps pushing these stories and eventually racial tensions are going to explode. I don’t think a race war is a bad thing, I sleep easy because I know which side would win.

  • J. Wright

    This is all becoming too crazy. There seems to be no accounting for the fact that this dude in NY and that toad Michael Brown were breaking the law to begin with … that’s why there was a police encounter. Then they fail to comply with a lawful order and then fight and resist. Not saying anyone deserves to die but for heaven sake why persecute the peace keepers! The law breakers have to take responsibility for their actions. All these protestor that block streets and interfere with daily progress of WORKING AMERICANS should all be locked up!

    • brian

      So because you break the law or are being encountered by the police, you should be shot? In Wilson’s testimony he said he couldn’t reach his mace or baton…but he could reach his gun? Yea, cops are supposed to protect and serve but they need to start being held accountable!!!! Don’t act like there are no crooked cops!

    • kitty

      do you watch cops or cnn….i have seen videos of white males fight …resist …spit on cops ..curse them out…not follow their commands never got shot or choked to death…..even white serial killers with weapons who go to our kids schools..work..and public places and shoot innocent people never got shot by the law…where are they in jail alive …when will you all get it cops..politicians and the law is not on any of our sides…whites always make it a race issue…why?

      • Manalishi

        Come to think of it, I clearly remember some white trash drunk punk get a ranger style choke hold applied at “Shamrock the block” by a black RPD officer a couple years ago. But I guess since he didn’t die in your martyrdom, it’s ok? Democrats are all the same.

      • Sammy

        Great point!! That happened this last year?!?! An exact race role reversal!?!? Exact. Didn’t see any silver spoon fed or living on school loan irchants laying in the street for that guy. AGAIN if you really care, protest the thousands of young men dying in Chicago. DEAD DAILY IN CHICAGO. Obama left Chicago in such great shape he joined the national stage and became POTUS. Hasn’t looked back since and hopes you won’t HONESTLY look back either. Our GUBBERMENT in Washington looks more and more like Chicago style GUBBERMENT everyday. Citizens should demand more from leadership.

      • brian

        You mean this? http://www.wric.com/story/24995108/shamrock-the-block-brawl-suspect-arrested-for-assaulting-officer
        Should the office have killed him? The difference is he is still alive!!!!! Not only that, he got off on assaulting the officer!!! See how the system works in white people favor!!!! You all are so adamant about respecting and not assaulting officers! That’s what this drunk white boy did and got away with it! NoW what!! was this a miscarriage of justice??!!!

      • brian

        Sammy, the white boy was silver spoon fed!!! The charges were lessened then dropped. Spoiled, entitled punk white boy!

      • joey

        If he was black, he would be dead or still in jail—This white boy got away with assaulting the officer!! So yes, good point crack head LSD manlishi for bringing up the reversed roles and how the outcome is!!

      • Manalishi

        Well i guess since he did’t knock off a convenience store or bludgeon the cop for his gun he lived to tell his drunken tale. Now had he been a welfare fed, 350# (hence the heart condition) asthmatic, diabetic, medicaid addicted, father of 6 (our tax $ supports) out on bond, who never had a job, being arrested for committing yet another crime (which democrats in NY made law) and told the cops “this ends now!”,,,,,,,,he probably would have died too. But that’s just not the case is it? “flluffer”

      • joey

        oh you are just full of B$ excuses. white people are all the same. Never want to admit wrong, just like to pull stuff out their a$$. But I put no stock in what an LSD crack head hippie says anyway. What a person has done in their past has nothing to do with one incident. The cops who were messing with these people didn’t know ANYTHING about their past when these incidents took place and it doesn’t matter if they did. And you have the nerve to blame a person who is dead’s medical condition on him being dead. So now its his fault?! That’s the dumbest ish I’ve heard! So, if I got in a fight with someone and put them in a choke hold and killed them as a result but they had a previous condition of asthma…it’s their fault that their dead and not mine?
        Answer Brian below, by the way…what excuse do you have for the whities rioting over sports….spray painting buildings, setting things on fire, assaulting cops, breaking windows, setting things on fire, etc???

      • joey

        Why was all charges dropped for assaulting a cop?? You say he didn’t have a previous record (which I don’t know how you know what) and you said he didn’t have an underlying medical condition, so that’s why he’s still alive….but why wasn’t he convicted? why were the charges dropped? Since you are so pro police….someone assaulted a beloved officer and got away with it.

      • Sammy

        Joey the drunk here in Richmond did not strong arm rob a store. The drunk did not punch the cop repeatedly in the face and head, didn’t fight for the cops gun, you poor demorats facts just keep getting in the way.

      • kim

        According to you white people if someone assaults a cop, they deserve to die—did this white boy deserve to die? Well, if he didn’t deserve to die, then surely he should’ve went to jail for what he did! but he did neither? Do you white people think this was injustice? do you all think this white boy should be dead or in jail for what he did?

      • joey

        First of all Sammy, this story is about Eric Garner, not Michael Brown….stop running! Secondly, he robbed a store—so what!! And lets put this in perspective, he stole cigars…. had nothing to do with him being killed. Answer the questions and stop running….white people hate being wrong and, most importantly, hate admitting being wrong.

      • Manalishi

        Now joey, as much as it pains you.
        http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/12/03/actual-facts-Eric-Garner
        You could always try thinking a bit, but that’s likely too much work. Stick to the facts.
        It really doesn’t make much sense to arrest someone for selling cigarettes one at a time, or to watch someone die while being arrested for that matter. But democrats get enraged when someone oversteps their new tax laws and demand action. Is it the cops? The law? The tax drunk democrats that make the tax law? or the perpetrator that ignores the law and feels as if he is above it?

      • Sammy

        Poor Joey, you said “perspective” really?? He yes stole cigars and didn’t he also walk down then grab an elderly man (about 125lbs.) and ramming him into a display rack while HIGH AS GAS to compare to our town drunk. There now you have perspective. His actions 5 minutes before he was shot goes to “state of mind”. Go ahead you can google that. However I did read your comment 2 up from where mine was posted and was on the wrong subject with you so here it is “MY BAD”

      • Joey

        Man, you’re going to send me to a conservative aka racist website, lol. Yea, of course their going to make it sound like Eric was a bad guy. From the start of the article they tried to paint job as a villain. Not a reliable article and doesn’t prove anything!! But anyways you all are running. You can’t address Brian about the riots and can’t address kim about the white boy. I’m done with you fools. You all are a joke. Wouldn’t know the truth if it bit you. Sad that you can’t be yourself. If you racist, admit it. You only understand justice and fairness if it’s benefiting white people. You all are dismissed from me exposing you fools.

  • Beckyh

    The Commensurate, “Most Intelligent, Legal Eagle, and Nobel Peace Prize Winner”; beside his Holder,
    of US Contempt,”The DO-Injustice Just for US”, Are Hostile-Activated.
    IF they have not set up their Agenda cases before their federal courts with their federal judges and predetermined verdicts, they will REFUSE them!
    They SELF-ordain Absolute Impunity of laws, enforcement, charges, and any and all Responsibility for MEEEE & MY Profiled Protected Favorites.
    …US Executive Commandment: “Let All Hell Break Loose!”
    My armies will bring MEEEE Victory, The Excuse…”I”, now, require to EO Martial Law to ALL POWER for MEEEEE!,
    through sanctioned illegal lawlessness!!!

    • David

      You must be speaking directly to fat athynz. No one else defends your gibberish as being coherent. Perhaps you are speaking in language of the nasty little hobbits tribe to which athynz belongs.

    • brian

      So should we also run them over when white people riot and start bon fires and break windows because their team won the superbowl or world series?

      • B ADDY

        The truth stings your punk a_s?
        Yes ,run them over. If they want to protest they should be protesting that 16% of the population accounts for over 50% of the crime. It’s amazing the police don’t kill 100 of these idiots a day.

  • brian

    I’m trying to figure out why when black people protest or riot because of injustice it is looked at as the worst thing ever but when white people riot and start bon fires and break windows because their team won the superbowl or world series its ok and normal and nobody cares and their white colleagues aren’t calling them animals????!!!!! Police cars bashed in, police sent to the hospital for being hit with bottles….but NOBODY died! But this stuff is not plastered all over the news.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/san-francisco-giants-fans-riot-world-series-win-gallery-1.1992930

  • Beckyh

    The PC Police, under PC Command, for PC University, made impotent to laws and enforcement, bent over, kowtowed,
    and assisted the deliberate law breakers for Perfect Correct-Mess Sake.

    • brian

      You Internet thuggin Cracker bytch. Won’t do nothing in real life but sit the f@ck back and shut up. All you white f@ggot honky bytches hide behind the computer.

      • brian

        Why would I put my address on the Internet? That’s something dumb a$$ white people do. He talking about running somebody over. The Cracker punk won’t. Saying what he would do. Don’t talk about it, be about it. Yall known punks. Racist have a history of being punks, that’s why they hide behind sheets.

  • trina

    The left finds a better case to obscure the news of Obama missing the Tuesday deadline to turn over documents on the IRS taxpayer information used by the White House to target conservatives,than the thug Micheal Brown case.You know the kind of thing that was in the Nixon articles of Impeachment.The Garner incident has better political optics for the Obola/Holder Helter Skelter plan.
    Still. Awaiting this protest.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/27/white-teen-gilbert-collar-killed-by-black-cop-trev/

  • Romaine

    Answer this question. If these was white guys with the same back ground as the rest of these victim killed by a black officers would the Grand Jury have indicted the officer? Would they have seen the video for what it was? All of us have seen these videos and heard these recordings. These Human beings have been killed like animals, victimized, and now there family’s can’t get justice because of the ignorance of other human beings. Everyone that are making these stupid comments you are ignorant, racist, and less the human. It’s time to fight back we need to do unto others as they do unto us. No Justice No peace.

      • Romaine

        Sammy How old are you and what’s your deal? It seams like you have a lot of issues. You have nothing positive to say and it’s very sad.

      • Romaine

        My name is Romaine so let’s get that straight I know what my post said and that’s not what I asked you. See a coward is someone who runs from confrontation and a kid is someone who don’t understand what’s being said to them so I am trying to figure which one you are. I asked you your age and what’s your deal? I am not the only one you commented to a I have read just about all of them so I am trying to figure out what your issue is that is what’s being asked of you just Incase you don’t understand Sammy.

      • manlishi

        “coward” “kid” ? then followed up with pretentious sagacious demands for “age” and “deal”? Define “ignorant” as it applies to your little world.

  • Romaine

    People need to learn how to have a conversation without ignorance. When your writing no one knows your race, religion, or if you have underline issues with race until you reveal it to them. Your opinion is your opinion but there are ways to express them without ignorance.

    • manlishi

      Here’s the lettuce guy touting the “ignorance” rhetoric again. You prefer ranch or just sticking to the blue cheese?

      • manlishi

        I cannot speak for Sammy. But if your idea of growing up means one should morph into a racist insignificant eunuch like yourself,,,,I’ll pass. Now run along and tell yo mama i said so.

      • Romaine

        One manlishi get it right I am not the one being racist you are. Your the one with a chip on your shoulder. I have been talking civil an you have shown utter ignorance. You have no clue what race I maybe and for you to even say that I am any bit of racist comes to show me either you don’t read or are not able to understand what you read so now you politely take that back to your mother and have her read this blog to you as a bedtime story so maybe you will able to understand child it’s not even really just about race but about injustice. Clean up you own back yards before judging anyone else. Last post don’t argue especially with children. Like I said grow up.

  • Coy

    If the police had been harmed or killed by merely doing their jobs, would it matter then? If the criminal/law breaker had been other than a black male would it matter? No it most certainly wouldn’t! The mass media is to blame for most of this garbage because to them the facts do not pertain. The law breaker and criminal agitator is glorified as a hero while the police and law enforcement in general is attacked. For the media and politicians to be making excuses for criminality is really sickening. If you resist and fight with police this is what can happen. Stop doing the crime and then you won’t have to worry about the police doing what they are supposed to do!

    • yvette

      The police are not supposed to kill you. Deadly force should be the last resort. Nobody is making excuses for criminality. Police go overboard sometimes and this was one those instances. They did not have do to all that they were doing. Where was the mace? Smashing his head in the ground was unnecessary. When he said he couldn’t breathe something should have changed….One of them should have gotten off his back, the officer should have let go of his neck. They were being nasty, rude, and obnoxious. They were NOT doing what they are entrusted to do! Further, did you see the tape after he lost conscious? I ask anyone who did not see that portion of the tape to watch. All the cops were standing around like uh oh or well, he’ll be ok…..we hope. Patting him on the shoulder like ok big guy, get up. They did not take him seriously when he said he couldn’t breathe. The paramedic care was HORRIBLE! Didn’t give him oxygen, still had him cuffed…it was like they didn’t treat it as an emergency.

      • spewing poo

        I suppose if he said he was innocent they should let him go too.where did he get the breath to say he couldn’t breathe?

      • Lindsey

        No dummy, they should’ve stopped roughing him up. Obviously when he said that, it was becoming had for him to breathe. Like someone said above, stop being an @$$. You know good and well when a person is being choked and they say they can’t breathe that they mean is becoming hard to breathe… Or am I giving you too much credit?

  • manlishi

    “One manlishi get it right”,,,,I did. ” but about injustice” Whos injustice? the asthmatic trashbag with a 31 count rap sheet? The taxpayers that support him and his family? The cops that are ordered to enforce democrats oppressive tax law? I’ts not my fault that your level of comprehension is restricted to the word “ignorance” , but your choice of stereotypical defense mechanisms will always render your theology as unproductive, dysfunctional, and mediocre at it’s best.
    Bon apetit.

Comments are closed.