'I can't breathe': What is Eric Garner's legacy? - The Stream

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The death of Eric Garner at the hands of a white policeman in the United States in 2014 was the first killing of its kind to be captured entirely on video, and activists say it was entirely preventable. Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” spoken 11 times before he died in an illegal chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo, became a rallying cry for the then-nascent Black Lives Matter movement.

Garner and other unarmed black men who have died at the hands of white police officers have become powerful symbols representing the struggle against racism and alleged police brutality in the US. The high profile shootings of black men like Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Walter Scott, to name a few, have also helped catapult the issue of police brutality into the American consciousness.

In his new book, “I Can’t Breathe,” journalist and author Matt Taibbi paints a picture of who Eric Garner was a person - not just as a victim of a broken criminal justice system, but as a father, son, and husband. Taibbi also focuses on the policies that he says created the conditions that allowed Garner to die and on a system he found stymied justice for Garner’s family every step of the way.

Matt Taibbi joins The Stream to talk about his new book and the cultural and political impact of Garner’s life and death.

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