From Ferguson to Staten Island

A grand jury in Staten Island has declined to indict an NYPD officer who, on camera, put a fatal chokehold on Eric Garner, a man suspected of illegally selling cigarettes. This happened just over a week after another grand jury, in Missouri, refused to indict Ferguson police officer Darrell Wilson who killed an unarmed man. Both victims were black.

What these episodes tell us is that even in the face of video evidence — and a coroner ruling the Garner case a “homicide” — cops are free to do whatever they want, which is a chilling prospect for society. There is no question that there would be indictments if the victims in either case were white, a fact that goes a long way to demonstrate in lurid detail the consequences of white privilege.

This is a shameful moment for the United States of America. But, of course, this is not simply a moment, but another point in a long train of abuses against an entire part of our country, a people who have never been given a fair chance at being recognized as American citizens. Under the condition of white supremacy, there can be no justice.

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