Coming up next on “The Racist Police Officer”

Samantha Simmons, Opinion Editor

“I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”

Staten Island resident Eric Garner yelled out in desperation only to have no one hear him. Months later at the trial of Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who was videotaped putting Garner in an unauthorized NYPD chokehold, the jury decided to not indict Pantaleo because he “felt bad” and because Garner’s health “could’ve been better”– Garner’s cry for help was lost again in a sea of denial and inconsideration.

Despite protests, public mourning, and sympathetic calls from police departments across America, the criminal accountability of police officers has been continuously overlooked by a small accumulation of people, most importantly the juries, who are allowing these criminals to walk free. I’m horrified at the calamitous series of events that have been occurring in America, all of them appearing to be racially motivated. Growing up, our elders have constantly reminded us to not let history repeat itself, but they have not yet informed us of how we can break away from this oppressive cycle when our society is filled with hypocrites.

Although there is not a solid law against racial profiling, groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union are encouraging equality during this “post-racial era” in order to raise awareness. Its obvious that they are not the only group of people who want others to understand — protesters have plastered the phrase “I can’t breathe” across their posters along with “don’t shoot,” also demonstrating the act of placing both hands in the air just as Mike Brown, another victim of police corruption, said to have done before being shot to death by a white police officer.

In order to suppress the protests, police feel as though fighting fire with fire is a good idea (because that’s always gotten us so far…) and multiple acts for reform are being proposed by police departments such as the retraining of the whole police force and video cameras that are to be worn on police at all times.

I’m pretty sure you can’t fix a group of racists with extra police training and we can see that the evidence a video provides doesn’t do much.  Garner was 43 and had a wife and children. Was a pack of cigarettes equivalent to the life of human being? What happened to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” While Eric Garner had his life choked out of him, he sure wasn’t experiencing any liberty with his face was pressed into the cold sidewalk. And do you think he’s happy with how his life ended? Do you think his kids are happy that they no longer have a father for Christmas?

Despite recent events revealing flaws in the police force and my obvious anger at what’s going on in our justice system, we must also recognize that not all police officers are bad. The police force is doing their best to sort out the situation and we need to remember that police officers as a whole are not the enemy, the enemy is racism. All America can hope for now is that these protests continue to increase the mindfulness of American citizens and that the actions of the police officers in 2014 will soon be added into history textbooks so future generations can comprehend the consequences of repeated history. If police think they can continue to get away with murder, receive paid leave while doing so, and discontinue all riots erupting across America, I’m sorry to inform you but this is only the beginning.