By Elvis Cruz-Lopez
These incidents are in no way taken lightly. No one likes to see it and no one likes to talk about it, but it is seen in the news by everyone. Over the past year, we’ve seen numerous incidents that may or may not be justified, where police officers have been involved in the death of a civilian. Here we are going to update you on the status of several of these important cases.
CASE: Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin
DATE: February 26, 2012
WHERE: Sanford, Florida
FACTS: Zimmerman a neighborhood watch coordinator shoots to death 17 year old Trayvon Martin. 9-11 dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was armed with a gun. Trayvon Martin was unarmed. Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman had minor injuries. Zimmerman was never tried. Zimmerman auctioned off his murder weapon.
OPINION: That fact that Zimmerman was not tried for murder over Trayvon’s death is ridiculous. And to have the nerve to auction off his murder weapon is like spitting in the face of the African American community. Here is yet another example of how flawed the United States justice system really is.
CASE: Darren Wilson/Michael Brown
DATE: August 9, 2015
WHERE: Ferguson, Missouri
FACTS: Police officer Darren Wilson shoots to death 18-year-old Michael Brown. Michael Brown committed unarmed robbery on a convenience store. Darren Wilson who was 28, shot Michael Brown as he approached the police car. Testimonials vary. The case sparked mass protests, including the (BLM) Black Lives Matter movement. Darren Wilson was not tried. The shooting went into investigation under the FBI and they concluded that Darren Wilson was innocent of any legal or civil rights violations. A second investigation was conducted by the Department of Justice. They found patterns of racial bias that included unwarranted arrests of African-Americans and use of excessive force by Ferguson Police. So far the city has been negotiating with the Department of Justice to enter into a “consent decree,” which would create formal guidelines for reform.
OPINION: What is it with police officers using lethal force like they’re trigger happy? We need to bring more attention to these incidents. So this is why racial bias exists, to fill the police department’s pockets with money? Are they really that underfunded? So, is the police fine money’s worth ruining the lives of everyday people? Lethal force should be a last resort, not a first. What happened to arresting someone for committing an actual crime? A policeman’s job shouldn’t be to oppress African Americans. How are the police able to write themselves off like this? How can they declare themselves innocent? Isn’t that the job of the courts?
CASE: Timothy Loehmann, Frank Garmback/ Tamir Rice
DATE: November 22, 2014
WHERE: Cleveland, Ohio
FACTS: A police officer shoots to death a 12-year-old, Tamir Rice, for carrying an airsoft gun around Cudell Recreation Center. Two police officers went to investigate the situation. Two seconds after police officer Timothy Loehmann stepped out of the police vehicle, he fired twice at Tamir Rice. One of those shots landed in Tamir’s torso which was the official cause of death. The 9-11 caller reported a kid walking around with a pistol, pointing it at random people. The 911 caller also stated twice that the pistol might have been fake. It is unconfirmed if dispatch revealed this information to the two police officers. According to police chief Tomba, Timothy Loehmann after pulling over asked Tamir Rice to put his hands in the air three times before Tamir Rice reached for his airsoft gun and Timothy Loehmann shot at him twice. This all happened within the span of two seconds. On november 26, after much pressure from the public and Tamir’s family, police released surveillance footage. The video shows the entire incident happening while the car is still stopping. Another video released by the Northeast Ohio Media Group on January 7, 2015, shows Tamir Rice’s sister being put in Loehmann and Garmback’s police car after running to aid her fatally wounded brother, being forced on the ground, and then being handcuffed. It also shows the two policemen refusing to give the 12-year-old boy medical treatment. It wasn’t until more than four minutes until the shooting that Tamir Rice received medical treatment from a nearby police detective from the FBI. On December 5, 2014, Tamir Rice’s family filed a wrongful-death suit against Loehmann, Garmback, and the City of Cleveland in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Accusing the city of failing to properly train the two police officers, also for failing to look over the Independence police department’s internal memo about Loehmann.
OPINION: This was a tragic incident that should’ve never happened. It could’ve been prevented if there were actual trained police officers called in to investigate these kinds of situations. All this racial bias has got to stop. Innocent people are being killed for something that shouldn’t exist in the first place. The job of a police officer shouldn’t be to oppress the African American populous, but to protect a citizen’s wellbeing. When children aren’t just being killed by criminals but by the cops as well, then who can we trust? What happened that day when Tamir Rice was killed was murder by police officer. Timothy Loehmann should’ve been tried for murder, because his intent was clearly to kill. Why else then shoot immediately after getting out of the police vehicle? My question is, was the kid shot for concealing a weapon look alike or because he was a “super predator?”
CASE: Daniel Pantaleo/ Eric Garner
DATE: July 17, 2014
WHERE: Staten Island, New York
FACTS: Police officers restrain and choke to death Eric Garner who was,43. Police officer Daniel Pantaleo used a chokehold on Eric Garner, which the hold itself was banned by the New York Police Department in 1993 due to regulations. The police officers were accusing Eric Garner of selling loose cigarettes which is illegal because it is the act of selling single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. Eric Garner can be heard complaining about how he is being harassed by these police officers. After he asks the police officers to stop harassing him, they try to restrain him as he swats the police officer’s hands away from him. Daniel Pantaleo who is the officer behind Eric Garner begins to choke him out. About 16 seconds of applying the chokehold Daniel Pantaleo forced Eric Garner’s face to the cement ground as several police officers restrained and handcuffed him. Eric Garner kept on gasping “I can’t breath.” A few minutes later the police officers rolled Eric Garner over to ease his breathing. The police didn’t perform CPR on Eric Garner nor did the EMT’s when they arrived. The New York Police Department did an internal review on whether the police officer used the illegal chokehold or not. The internal investigation ruled that coming up behind a person and choking them with a forearm is not considered a chokehold, but a headlock. Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted due to the conclusion that there was no chokehold being used.
OPINION: Here at North Eugene High School when local wrestler, Eli Price, was asked to watch the video of Eric Garner being apprehended to tell if it looked like a headlock or not. He said “That looks like a chokehold to me.” A headlock is the restraint of blood flow by locking your opponent’s head. The restraint of blood flow itself happens when pressure is applied by the bicep and shoulder at the sides of the neck. A chokehold is exactly that. It’s the act of choking your opponent. Restraining air flow by crushing the windpipe by any means. This is dangerous because the victim won’t pass out in seconds like a blood restraint which almost no strength is needed because it relies on leverage, and is considerably less painful than a chokehold which takes minutes to incapacitate your opponent as they struggle harder and harder to breath leaving a burning sensation in their lungs. Their brain isn’t robbed of blood, but unlike a blood restraint the blood loses its oxygen, feeding the brain useless blood in the process. After the victim is finally incapacitated they won’t be able to breath on their own and will die if CPR is not performed almost immediately. What happened on the video was clearly a chokehold. Eric Garner was gasping “ I can’t breath.” Daniel’s forearm was crushing Eric’s throat. Even if Daniel Pantaleo didn’t intend to kill Eric Garner, his actions clearly did. He should have been indicted and tried for involuntary manslaughter. The police and the EMT’s that didn’t medically attend Eric Garner should be just as responsible for his death as Daniel Pantaleo should’ve been.