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Common Challenges The Criminal Justice System: Are his Demands Far Fetched?

Common Challenges The Criminal Justice System: Are his Demands Far Fetched?


We cannot ignore the incident involving Eric Garner and Officer Daniel Pantaleo just because it has come and gone. Quite frankly, it has come and stayed because the murder of our black men (and women) seems to be never ending. It is infuriating because it keeps happening, and it is even more infuriating when there are celebrities in the spotlight who want to act like it is not happening. Fortunately, though, there are some celebrities who are not afraid to speak out on the current injustices of our society. In fact, there are a few stars that have specific demands for the criminal justice system.

Chicago-native Common made a specific demand in regards to the officer that choked 43-year-old Eric Garner—that he be fired immediately. I do not know too many people that would not agree with this demand simply because the officer was obviously out of hand. Garner screamed “I can’t breathe” 11 times before he died from compression of neck, compression of chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police. Officer Pantaleo obviously had Garner in an illegal chokehold, but he was still not indicted.

Too many times have police officers killed our men and women and received no punishment for it, and Common suggested that if we allow this to keep happening, it will, indeed, continue to happen.

“I was told that that officer had some incidents before where he was pretty much abusive towards people of color,” he said. “[…] I mean, if you allow that behavior to continue, it eventually comes to the worst situation where somebody dies.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Common. Officer Pantaleo has been sued for strip searching and groping two African American men in March 2012. He was also sued in February 2012 for the wrongful arrest of an African American man. To put the icing on the cake, Pantaleo has been put on desk duty. Desk duty!

The only people taking this situation lightly are the people who do not understand the severity of it nor do they understand the immediate and direct effects that this has on people of color. It is about time that celebrities use their voices to speak out on significant societal issues. They need to start using their platforms for more reasons than to promote themselves.

Is Common’s demand for Pantaleo’s termination a stretch? I say absolutely not. What do you think?

Watch the full interview here, and share your thoughts.



  1. Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

  2. Common, thank you for speaking your mind.
    I totally agree that this officer should be fired immediately and the all
    of the other officers that stood by and let this happen.

    People should stay in the street until justice is served!!!!

  3. The changes need to start with the leader’s of the nation’s police departments. If the top officer’s from the chief of police down are help accountable for crimes committed by the street policemen, police would stop enforcing the law by breaking the law. They can’t have it both ways. The real problem is police already know what they can get away with.

  4. I agree with Common’s statement regarding people of color leading the challenge to the injustices that keep happening. Also, I challenge the men in blue to man up to the weak men wearing and disrespecting the police uniform. The police officer that acted like a wild animal and killed Eric Garner and the other police officers that didn’t stop them are not men!!

  5. A well spoken comment by Common. We must raise our levels of consciousness and involvement in all aspects of life. We cannot leave it up to others to bear the burden of our freedom and equal justice. No one is going to do for us what we are unwilling to do for ourselves. We have the responsibility to provide an ever present and vigorous challenge to the injustices that keep visiting itself upon our people. We cannot afford to be silent and we must speak out. We, African-Americans, in positions of power, awareness and visibility must lead the march for change and demand equal justice to give hope and assurance to the present generation and the ones to come.


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