December 10, 2014. New York. (ONN) For weeks, Americans have been pitted against each other over the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. Fueled by profit-starved media corporations desperate for viewers and readers, racial hatred and confrontation have become a disease sweeping the nation. But not until we read an editorial by Jesus Alaniz in the Illinois Review did we find someone echoing our thoughts here at the Illinois Herald - maybe both sides are in the wrong, the thugs as well as the stormtroopers of America’s police state.
Protesters remind America that Michael Brown and Eric Garner aren’t the only ones who’ve been killed by police recently. Image courtesy of WJLA.com.
"The news shouldn't be left wing or right wing, conservative or liberal. It should be the news. It should be independent" - Mark Wachtler, Illinois Herald owner/editor
The Illinois Herald is an independent, grassroots news outlet. Without your support, we couldn't continue publishing. Any donation is appreciated.
The below commentary was published in yesterday’s Illinois Review:
First Amendment and the Police State
By Jesus Alaniz
I viewed the video arrest of Eric Garner and have listened to the videographer’s (Ramsey Orta) side of the story. According to Orta, Garner had broken up a fight and had told the two people to “move it”. Upon arrival, the police ignored the two people fighting and confront Garner. In viewing the video I see Garner doing nothing wrong and the phrase “resisting arrest” that has been reported, in my opinion, is a stretch by a long shot.
Garner raises his hands and asks to be left alone. A policeman charges him and puts the choke hold on him while three other police assist in tackling him. Garner is not even putting up a fight. Two more police then join in to assist as Garner repeats that he can’t breathe. According to Orta, Garner’s face was pushed into the ground twice and ended when a policeman used his knee to keep Garner’s head down. Orta states that he observed Garner’s eyes roll up as Garner foamed at the mouth. I do not know where the charges came up that Garner was “selling cigarettes illegally”.
Prior to this, Orta had also recorded police beating a handcuffed man with a baton in front of a crowd. The expressions of the crowd in the video lead me to believe that the beating was unwarranted and unjustified.
In March of 2012, Chicago police arrested two members of the media including a Chicago photojournalist. A police officer allegedly stated, “Your 1st Amendment rights can be terminated if you're creating a scene or whatever.” Further, in January of 2013, Chicago’s Police Chief Gary McCarthy allegedly stated that a policeman cannot know whether someone holding a firearm is a legal carry-conceal person or not and therefore the police have no obligation to wait.
Bad policemen, unjust laws and certain police chiefs are destroying the police’s reputation. The death of a man who broke up a fight, the beating of a handcuffed suspect, threats by a police chief to shoot on suspicion and police threatening to take the press’ 1st Amendment rights away, in my eyes, is not “law enforcement” but the exercises of a police state. In the summer of 1963, President John F Kennedy addressed the nation on civil rights stating, “This nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds...that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
I detest agitators who politicize the death of every Black person regardless of the facts and the testimony. But I also detest tyranny by those who hold power or carry a badge. Montesquieu once wrote, “There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.” Law enforcement needs to lead in preserving the peace. I suggest George Washington’s advice - “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.”
Special thanks to Jesus Alaniz and the Illinois Review.
Recent Illinois Herald articles:
Subscribe to the Illinois Herald. Only 1 weekly email in your inbox. It's FREE and you can unsubscribe at any time. Subscribe now!