The grand jury that voted not to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner has failed.
Unlike the case involving officer Darren Wilson and Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO., video evidence available to the world gave a clear visual of the events that took place between Officer Pantaleo and Mr. Garner. Video footage that is incredibly difficult to watch due to unwarranted violence and injustice as you literally watch one man take the life of another.
As a 26-year-old heterosexual white male, I feel it is my responsibility to stand up and use my voice as it seems to carry much further in this country than any other citizen of color, gender or sexual preference.
The system must stop protecting the badge.
Yes, policemen and policewomen (voluntarily) risk their lives to attempt to protect and serve communities throughout the the United States. Much like doctors attempt to save lives and teachers attempt to teach children, there are occasions in which they fail. Doctors do perform malpractice on patients but face severe consequences. Teachers do participate in sexual relations with students but face severe consequences.
Yet, for some reason law enforcement seem to dodge the bullet that is justice as they're protected by their badge.
In cases such as Eric Garner, we must look beyond the badge. If the forearm cutting off Mr. Garner's air passages belonged to a man with any other professional occupation he would face consequences in the court of law. Or maybe if Mr. Garner looked more like myself, he would still be alive. Either way, I am certain if a police officer choked me to death and it was caught on film that I served no threat or showed zero resistance, justice would be served.
Law enforcement must be held to the same standard as every other professional in their respected field, especially when they take a life. Too many police officers in the last year have walked away from killing, only to be slapped on the wrist and given the opportunity to "resign" from their duty.
It should begin with other police officers. Instead of standing by their colleagues following these criminal acts, they should feel comfortable enough to speak their honest opinion without feeling threatened to lose trust of the force's 'brotherhood.' With or without a badge, one fully understands right from wrong. Saving one of your own who has broken the law is not worth losing a large population of the country. Following each grand jury decision, the government and the police force are losing the trust of the people. The same people who they are supposed to protect.
I understand it's important as a government to stick behind the men and women who dedicate their life to justice, but who is to stand up for the families of victims who had an empty seat at their Thanksgiving table last week?
The answer is me, you, your best friend, your worst enemy, your parents, your colleagues, and the millions of others who you have never met.
We can't continue as a country that is infatuated with the idea of freedom and democracy without facing the injustice that occurs right under our nose.
I am sickened with the recent grand jury decision involving the killing of Mr. Eric Garner and hope we can work together as one nation to resolve the current issue. We've come too far as a society to reintroduce a racial divide.