I apologize that it has taken me so long to get this post out; it should have been more timely. This mosaic was made from letters photographed on signage in my hometown, Putnam, CT.
#ICantBreathe was the most used hashtag on Twitter in the last months of 2014 and reflected the tragic death of Eric Garner, on July 17, 2014 on Staten Island, NY, after a police officer put him in a chokehold…an act of restraint specifically barred from the NYPD handbook. The incident was caught on video and clearly Mr. Garner can be heard repeating, “I can’t breathe” several times, but to no avail. He choked to death.
Mostly sadly, the officers at the scene were somehow exonerated from any legal responsibility for their actions. (In what was truly ironic, the only person to go to jail was the person who shot the video, who was arrested on an unrelated, outstanding warrant.) Because Mr. Garner was black, this immediately—and I think rightly—opened the question of the way that black people are treated by police everywhere in America and specifically in New York.
There are race issues in the United States and they need to be dealt with. Not ignored, not hushed, not argued with, but dealt with, once and for all. They have festered too long.
Please remember Eric Garner and keep both him and his family in your prayers.
I would also like to invite you to visit the poetry blog, the Book of Pain. Thank you for dropping by the Book of Bokeh.
All photographs and comments ©2015 by John Etheridge with all rights reserved; not to be used without the expressed written permission of the copyright owner.