Police. Racism. Crime. Death. Protest. Unjust. These are the words infiltrating our ears on a daily bases in America. Recent events have sent a shock wave across the country, having everyone rethink our police force and the state of racism in America. The case of Eric Garner has recently come to the publics attention, and has left many people outraged not only in America, but around the world. The events that are taking place around the country include evaluation of laws and civil dis-obiendence.
Laws are an institution of the state. As explained in class, laws can be a specific statue or they can follow the rule of law. Rule of law is basically the idea that law should govern a nation and that those laws should be predictable, non arbitrary, transparent, and consistent. Although laws are generally a good thing, trouble exists within laws. There can be bad laws, like the recent Religious Freedom Restoration Act that is trying to be passed in Michigan legislation. Or, there can be good laws such as anti-discrimination laws, right to a fair trial, and the amount of force police officers can use. The problem with good laws is that they can be abused and/or unenforced.
In the situation involving Eric Garner, these good laws have become unjust. In order for a law to be just, the law must be consistent, the law must be applied to all, and enforces sameness. For Eric Garner, the laws were not consistent. Like many other African American citizens, Garner was arguably targeted not only for his crime, but for his race. Although Jim Crow laws are no longer is affect and laws state that people can not be discriminated because of race, racism still happens everyday.
The police officers that ended up killing Garner misused the law of using appropriate force on suspects, therefore making it unjust. Not only did they put the man in a chokehold, but they also sat on his back. The police officers involved used unnecessary force to handcuff Garner, especially when he already had his hands up in the air.
Lastly, the right to a fair trial was denied to the Eric Garner case. It was decided that there would be no indictment in the Eric Garner case, meaning the police officers would never have to take responsibility for his death, even though his death was ruled a homicide and the police officers did break protocol.
The injustice of Eric Garner’s case has began a wave of protests across America. Most American’s are furious that the case was not indicted. Their protest can be considered civil disobedience because people are causing public announce, and disturbance, by marching in the street and chanting, “I can’t breathe,” but they are doing the right thing. If laws are unjust, they must be fought against, or no change will come.
Martin Luther King Jr., believed that the United State had the foundation of just laws, but peoples enforcement of laws and some of the statues are unjust. He believed that in order to change the laws to be just, you ought to not obey them, and fight against them peacefully. The protests taking place going across the country are following Martin Luther King’s beliefs. As people march peacefully, they are living the words of MLK and bringing justice to America and the world.
For Eric Garner and many like him, justice came too late or not at all. Hopefully, through the American people, change can be made. No one deserves to die for no reason at the hands of an officer. No one deserves to be discriminated against because of their skin. No one should be ignored when they say “I can’t breathe.”
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2014/dec/04/i-cant-breathe-eric-garner-chokehold-death-video (Video of Garner’s Death)