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.