The Comprehensive Reading List For Eric Garner And The Non-Indictment Of Officer Daniel Pantaleo

I don’t know what to say about the non-indictment of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for choking Eric Garner to death, while Garner repeated the words “I can’t breathe” over and over. If I tried to say anything, it would amount to an un-nuanced “This is horrible,” so instead of trying to formulate a post myself, here’s a roundup of posts on the non-indictment from people who have figured out how to articulate it better:


  • i100 has rounded up short versions of the relevant information about the Garner case, including President Obama’s statement, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s statement, Daniel Pantaleo’s almost-apology (he never says “I’m sorry,” just that he feels bad about Garner’s death — his lawyer probably advised him that an apology would sound like an admission of wrongdoing), and some of the reactions to the non-indictment and to the protests. [i100]

  • Business Insider has a more in-depth look at the information about the case. Pantaleo testified that he didn’t put Garner in a chokehold — especially since chokeholds were banned in the NYPD in 1993. Rather, he was using a “wrestling move” that was meant to take Garner off-balance. His explanation for why he didn’t stop was that his arm “slipped” around Garner’s neck and he found himself pinned between a window and a much larger man. [Business Insider]

  • However, many other New York police officers have gotten non-indictments for deaths by chokehold since 1993. [Atlantic]

  • The Staten Island District Attorney wants to release the grand jury documents for Garner’s case. [Huffington Post]

  • The Justice Department is launching a civil rights investigation into Garner’s death. [RawStory]

  • The man who filmed Garner’s interaction with the police was indicted for weapons charges a month after Garner’s death; he believes that the police were retaliating against him for the video. [Huffington Post]


  • Garner’s widow has refused Pantaleo’s almost-apology: “The time for remorse would have been when my husband was yelling to breathe.” [Death and Taxes]

  • The Reverend Al Sharpton is calling for a national march on Washington. [Daily Kos]

  • On Twitter, the hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite trended, highlighting the difference between police treatment of Black people and White people. It has, of course, been a little bit polarizing. [The Root]

  • Here’s a roundup of the New York newspaper covers this morning. [Business Insider]

  • Daily Kos has a roundup of pundit reactions. [Daily Kos]


  • Death and Taxes has an awesome roundup of Twitter photos from the protests, including the West Side Highway, Grand Central Terminal, and Times Square shutdowns. [Death and Taxes]

  • Gothamist has a gallery of 88 photos from the protests in New York. [Gothamist]

  • While WPIX reporter Allison Kaden was trying to cover the protests, a couple decided it’d be fucking hilarious to re-enact and mock Garner’s chokehold death in the background. [Gothamist]

  • Here’s a narrative account of the protests. [The Daily Beast]

  • Racialicious has a list of actions planned for this weekend. [Racialicious]


  • Many have been criticizing Barack Obama’s call for body cameras for cops, citing the fact that the footage of Garner’s homicide didn’t do anything to either chill the officers in the moment or even help serve justice in the grand jury hearing. [The Grio]

  • Jon Stewart: “We are definitely not living in a post-racial society, and I can imagine there are a lot of people out there wondering how much of a society we’re living in at all.” Stewart also addressed the inefficacy of camera footage in Garner’s case. [The Daily Show]


  • Republican Congressman Peter King: “If he had not had asthma, and a heart condition, and was so obese, he would not have died from this.” Or Pantaleo could have not “slipped” into a chokehold, and when Garner was yelling that he couldn’t breathe, Pantaleo could have stopped choking him. King’s statement is the equivalent of saying that it’s our duty as American citizens to be healthy enough to endure police brutality. [RawStory]

  • FOX News hosts were more concerned about the New York City tree lighting ceremony being ruined than about racial injustice. [Death and Taxes]

  • Rand Paul says that if our “nanny state” didn’t have tax laws pertaining to cigarettes, Garner never would have died. [RawStory]

  • That being said, if Garner had been White and lived in Idaho, he would have become a Tea Party icon. But he’s not, so you won’t see Ron Paul getting actually outraged. [Atlantic]


  • Bill O’Reilly: “He did not deserve what happened to him. And I think Officer Pantaleo and every other American police officer — every one — would agree with me. He didn’t deserve that.” Is O’Reilly’s bromance with Jon Stewart rubbing off on him? [Huffington Post]


  • History is repeating: Garner’s death reminded many people of Radio Raheem from Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, who was, in turn, based on a man named Michael Stewart, who died after police abuse after being stopped for painting graffiti. [The Daily Beast]

  • Albert Burneko argues that the justice system isn’t broken; it’s meant to kill Black people and excuse the White police officers who do it. Why else would it have operated this way for so long? [Deadspin]

  • Josh Voorhees on why Pantaleo wasn’t indicted: “The default setting for our criminal justice system—both explicitly and implicitly—is to believe that an on-duty officer who takes another citizen’s life was justified in doing so. Unless that baseline assumption changes, we should expect the same result the next time a cop takes someone else’s life in the line of duty.” [Slate]

  • R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy on activism: “We never needed 100 percent to be on board, just a few committed ones. They’ll come around later, or come around for the victory party.” [Gawker]

  • Space policy analyst Lauren Lyons on humanity: “Perhaps most troubling is that some of us have the privilege to declare that we are more evolved than all this. But these wars and these sufferings are us. So let’s stop running. Let’s wrestle with this. Let’s get dirty. Let the brightest minds of the day step down from their thrones and engage.” [Huffington Post]

  • Activist Shaun King has some suggestions as to how to cope with the repeated heartbreaks the justice system deals to activists and communities. [Daily Kos]

  • One police officer has been indicted for the death of an unarmed Black person: Dante Servin, who killed Rekia Boyd in Chicago. This will be the first time in 20 years that a Chicago police officer will be tried for killing a Black Chicagoan. [Huffington Post]

  • Heather Digby Parton looks at rhetoric that paints the White people who commit racial crimes as victims of racism. [Salon]

  • Michael W. Waters invokes De La Soul’s The Stakes Is High to explain why now is the moment for America to start valuing Black lives: “No individual who views human life as sacred and as created in the image of God would remain unmoved upon the dying as he cries aloud for breath to breathe.” [Huffington Post]

[Image via Gothamist]