Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Strangler Cop Walks

This month we learned that Officer Daniel Panteleo of the New York City Police Department has not been indicted by a grand jury for strangling cigarette-seller Eric Garner. They just couldn't decide. Garner couldn't breathe, and Panteleo wouldn't let him.

Panteleo joins former officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department in being allowed to have killed. They head a long list of similarly un-indicted police killers.

Given the national outcry in both cases, police violence is now a national concern. The demonstrations are massive. Police killings of unarmed young black men keep happening - a 12-year old in Cleveland with a toy gun. A young man in a Walmart carrying a bb gun to the cash register.

The President wants every policeman to wear a body cam. "Community policing" is being further developed as a kind of policing that communities can support because it doesn't kill people unnecessarily.

It seems safe to say that local police no longer belong quite so much to the power structure. They are owned also by those who set their standards, and today it is more and more the community they serve that is saying how they should behave.

The governors of New York and Missouri can still appoint special prosecutors. The federal government can sue these killers for denying the victims their rights - the right to live, in both cases. The right not to be punished by the arresting officer, but by a judge using due legal process. A right we all think we have. We think.

The demonstrations are massive.

The war against violence has come home.

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