I couldn’t help but respond to an AOL article about the differences between Michael Brown’s Ferguson MO and Eric Gardner’s Staten Island, NY. I felt I needed to point out additional differences other than the video or no video; why they were stopped; the manner of victim’s death; victim age, victim size and public reaction. Below is my response.
You forgot to mention the role mayors, police officials and governors played in this. The governor of Missouri Jay Nixon (great creepy name) declared a state of emergency. He sent the National Guard twice, long before results of the grand jury were public. Each time the guard appeared, it stoked an already tense situation in Ferguson. The governor did very little to calm the situation. The mayor of Ferguson wasn’t much better. I don’t recall that he apologized to Brown’s parents for what happened to their young man. I don’t recall that he expressed sympathy or understanding what it might like to lose a child in such a violent way when the country is not at war. Meanwhile, you had a police chief taking an active role in releasing disinformation on his officer as well as about the officer’s victim, Michael Brown.
In contrast, Governor Cuomo hasn’t weighed in on Eric Gardner grand jury decision let alone send in the nation guard. He’s remained silent in public but I suspect he’s working hard behind the scenes. Both NYPD Commissioner Bratton and Mayor de Blasio expressed sympathy for the Gardner family after the incident. Bratton has said numerous times, the officer who brought Gardner down used an illegal chokehold as the medical examiner’s report later stated. If I remember correctly, Bratton went to visit the Gardner family on Staten Island the weekend that it happened. Bratton met several times with Black churches as well as community organizers in Staten Island, too. At a press conference yesterday, Mayor de Blasio wondered aloud how he would handle the loss of his own biracial son Dante at the hands of the police as he expressed surprise, hurt and sadness at the grand jury’s no indictment decision. I take these as signs that government officials felt a sympathetic connection with the Gardner family and the unnecessary loss of Mr. Gardner.
Last night, there was no rioting or looting here in the Big Apple but there were thousands of demonstrators blocking traffic on the West Side Highway. They marched the streets and stood with hands up, chanting ‘I can’t breathe’ in subway stations as well Time Square, Union Square and at the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. They held dead-ins in Grand Central Station and in the street. There were confrontations with the police and there were arrests made but for the most part, I’m happy to report no major incidences of violence by either side. I have crossed fingers that calm remains.
You can read the full AOL article here: http://aol.it/12pMI4Q