Rosa Parks Can't Breathe

• On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in Staten Island, New York after a police officer put him in a chokehold, a tactic banned by NYPD. Garner was initially approached by officer Justin Damico on suspicion of selling "loosies", single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. While lying facedown on the sidewalk surrounded by four officers, Garner is heard repeating "I can't breathe" 11 times. Garner was pronounced dead an hour later at the hospital. —wikipedia

• “The coroner ruled Garner’s death a homicide. He suffered from asthma, and Pantaleo’s chokehold killed him.” —Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

• “Garner’s death is part of a … trend: The ‘broken windows’ theory of policing, which holds that cracking down on minor, nuisance offenses — such as selling loose cigarettes — is key to reducing serious crime.'"—Eugene Robinson

President Obama in Rosa Parks' seat on the historic Cleveland bus

President Obama in Rosa Parks' seat on the historic Cleveland bus

• President Obama has refrained from direct comments about the merits of the Eric Garner and Micheal Brown (Ferguson) legal cases, but endorses Attorney General Eric Holder's civil rights investigation into Garner's death. 

• "I'm being pretty explicit about my concern ... about the fact that this is a systemic problem … I’ll leave it for people to speculate on what I’m saying to myself or Michelle when we’re alone at night.” —President Obama, 12.8.14

• Watch 60-second video below: George W. Bush, Joe Scarborough and Charles Krautheimer agree the Garner tape is persuasive:

• “Only 1 in 20 white (police) officers believe that blacks and other minorities receive unequal treatment from the police. But 57 percent of black officers are convinced the treatment of minorities is unfair.” —David Brooks, New York Times

• Below: CBS News poll Dec. 2014: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/michael-brown-and-eric-garner-the-police-use-of-force-and-race/

• In the absence of official statistics, it is estimated there are as many as 1,000 police killings in the U.S. each year — compared to no fatal police shootings in Great Britain last year and only eight in Germany over the last two years. Canada, with its own frontier ethos and no great aversion to firearms, averages only a dozen police shootings a year. —Eugene Robinson (paraphrased)