Killer Cop Pantaleo. Photo: YouTube.
[Truth To Empower]
It’s been four years, since Eric Garner had the life choked out of him, in Staten Island, by New York Police Department (NYPD) Officer Daniel Pantaleo, on July 17, 2014—as Pantaleo and other officers sought to fulfill their racially-mandated quotas.
Garner’s dying words of “I can’t breathe,” uttered 11 times, became a national rallying cry against police brutality.
For the last four years there has been no justice for Eric Garner, or his family. America’s police departments continue to face zero accountability for the racist policing that is firmly cemented in corrupt cop culture. The police cannot honestly be expected to police and hold themselves accountable. Officers know it doesn’t happen. Why else would they stand and witness one of their own, Pantaleo, murder a man in cold blood.
The upcoming internal trial Officer Pantaleo will face, within the NYPD, will render nothing remotely resembling justice because: the institution of the police is all about protecting, not punishing officers—no matter what heinous crime these officers commit.
Reportedly, the NYPD will hold disciplinary trials against Eric Garner’s killer, Officer Pantaleo and against Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, by the beginning of next year. The notion the NYPD can somehow be an impartial body in investigating and judging one of their own is farcical.
Expecting police to police themselves, is like expecting “honor among thieves.”
Last Wednesday, the mother of Eric Garner, Gwen Carr, demanded justice for her son by challenging Mayor Bill de Blasio directly, face to face. “Would you agree to holding all of these officers accountable for their wrongdoing that day?” she asked. “I do not want to play anymore political procrastination.”
Her words underline one of the major problems which allows police, all over America, to kill and murder Black people with impunity: the lack of any accountability. In doing so, she accused de Blasio of “blocking” attempts to hold Pantaleo, and the other officers present, accountable.
“It’s been four years since my son’s murder and it’s been very hard on me and my family, but it seems like the administration is blocking the accountability for the, you know, for the justice for my son and this just makes the four years worse for me. This is not a game. It’s not politics with me and my family. This is serious. My son Eric Garner’s life mattered.”
As has been the case, since NYPD officers engaged in mass insubordination by turning their backs on him, Mayor de Blasio evaded the real question. In doing so, he illustrated his complete backsliding betrayal of the Black New Yorkers who elected him to office, in large part, to clean up the NYPD. The mayor’s response was pathetic.
“I don’t think what I’m going to say is going to satisfy you,” de Blasio said. “But I want to just tell you straight up, I have a lot of respect for you.”
Where is the “respect” for the life of Eric Garner, who was killed just because he was a Black man who may’ve been selling “loosie” cigarettes?
The ugly little secret here is: when Eric Garner was put into that deadly police lynch-hold, the life was squeezed out of him by Officer Pantaleo knowing he would have the backing of the whole rottenly racist policing institution of America. No justice will come from these NYPD “disciplinary” hearings because: those conducting the hearings are guiltier of Garner’s death than Pantaleo.
Now is a good time for us to talk about the racially-applied police quota policy.
Police like to tell us the problem with racism among police is just one of a “few bad apples.” This is a lie. America’s indigenous policing had their dubious beginnings as “Slave Patrols” hunting down, harassing and terrorizing African-Americans. Today, police are still instructed to harass, terrorize and criminalize Black America.
Within cop culture, few police ever dare speak out against cop corruption. When brave and decent police officers do—like Officer Adhyl Polonco, Officer Adrian Schoolcraft and Officer Craig Matthews—they always face serious repercussions for doing so. Let’s talk about one of these brave cops: Officer Adhyl Polanco.
The day before 16-year-old Kimani Gray—killed March 9, 2013 by NYPD cops—was buried on March 23, 2013, Civil Rights lawyers were litigating in the important Floyd v. City of New York class-action lawsuit case against the NYPD, for routinely violating the constitutional rights of Black New Yorkers. The case centered on the racially-applied stop-and-frisk policing practice that is used to perpetuate economic warfare against African-Americans—much like the extreme example we witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri, leading to the execution style killing of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson.
In the Floyd case, Officer Adhyl Polonco testified about the racist policing practices he witnessed inside the NYPD. Polonco, in 2009, had secretly recorded NYPD brass—including, senior officers: two sergeants, an inspector, a lieutenant and three police union delegates—as they talked about who should be targeted for quotas. The recording was played in court and revealed the racist nature of NYPD policing policy.
Officer Polonco testified that NYPD brass didn’t care about the “quality” of the arrests—just the “quantity.”
“There came a point in time in 2009 where they came very hard with the quotas. They call it productivity,” Polanco testified. “They will never question the quality. They will question the quantity…How we got them, they don’t really care about.”
Polonco said superiors made it “very clear” what they expected from officers.
“They wanted 20 and one,” Polanco said. “20 summonses and one arrest per month, per officer, at least…It’s either you do it, it’s non-negotiable, or you’re going to become a Pizza Hut delivery man.”
Officer Polonco also noted this: “We were handcuffing kids for no reason…any group of Black kids or Hispanic kids.”
Officer Polonco’s testimony reminds me of something a White cop—who I’ve known for years, and whose name I won’t reveal—told me. This officer is afraid of facing the retribution Officer Polonco, and others, have faced for speaking out against these racist practices.
This White officer told me, after emerging from the police academy, he was assigned to a Black community, in the Brooklyn area, and was told to write tickets—for any reason he could find. He was stunned by this. He had, naively, assumed he was working for an honorable institution that would be helping people—instead of robbing them under the legal cover of being a police officer.
This officer had fallen for the myth that police are there to “serve and protect,” even Black people. He learned different.
A few questions here. What do quota requirements really have to do with “fighting crime” anyway? If crime rates fall, for whatever reason, how do police expect officers to fulfill quotas? Aren’t quotas used to particularly attack the economically vulnerable communities of America, especially Black America?
Here, I remember Black Star News publisher, Milton Allimadi, telling me about a Black homeless man he encountered during his early morning jog who had been ticketed for sleeping in Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem. How does the NYPD “serve and protect” by ticketing the homeless?
Several unjustified killings of Black people in New York can be directly linked to NYPD officers trying to fulfill quota obligations.
We know police were trying to ticket Eric Garner for selling “loosie” cigarettes, because they had ticketed him before. Sean Bell was killed in a hail of 50 shots on the day that was to be his wedding day, November 26, 2006. Bell’s shooting was sparked by an apparently drunk NYPD cop, Officer Gescard Isnora, who along with his team seemed to be seeking to pad their arrests for that day.
Guinean immigrant, Amadou Diallo, was killed in a fusillade of 41 shots by the Street Crimes Unit, on February 4, 1999. Like the officers who executed Sean Bell, they were apparently trying to rack up tickets, summonses and arrests. Pay raises and promotions have been tied to quota policy schemes, such as “Collars for Dollars.”
The fact is this: when Officer Daniel Pantaleo choked the life from Eric Garner he was doing so, most likely, because the NYPD quotas for the month had to be reached.
This means the NYPD is just as guilty as Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner.