It’s hard not to agree with Jon Stewart’s now-viral, four-letter-word reaction to a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the white police officer who killed Eric Garner, an unarmed black man. In fact, anything less than outrage feels unacceptable.
Here is one of the four official “values” of the New York Police Department:
Value human life, respect the dignity of each individual and render our services with courtesy and civility.
Here is the official mission of the New York Police Department.
The MISSION of the New York City Police Department is to enhance the quality of life in our City by working in partnership with the community and in accordance with constitutional rights to enforce the laws, preserve the peace, reduce fear, and provide for a safe environment.
Right now, the NYPD is failing its mission.
It’s failing its city.
But most of all, it’s failing its people. Just think of the tragic ways it’s failed Eric Garner’s family: his wife, his six children.
Here is the video of Eric Garner’s death by chokehold, a death that the city’s medical examiner determined was a homicide, the chokehold itself banned by the Police Department in 1993. If you haven’t watched it, you need to make yourself watch it.
The injustice of Eric Garner’s death was apparent before the grand jury convened. Now, we can only afford for the injustice of the grand jury’s decision to leave us speechless for a moment, a moment of silence in his memory.
After that, there is no room for silence. And there are many ways to break the silence.
One way, is in the street. Tonight, like last night, marchers in New York – and cities around the country – will protest the Staten Island grand jury’s decision.
In New York, many will march in solidarity with a coalition of 64 local and national organizations endorsing the #ThisStopsToday platform.
Here are the names of some of the rabbis who will march tonight, according to a press release from Jews for Racial & Economic Justice: Rabbi Roly Matalon, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Rabbi Felicia Sol, Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein, Rabbi Ayelet Cohen, Rabbi Ellen Lippman.
They’ll be standing up, as Jews, for justice. Tonight seems like a meaningful time to join them.
Note: The JFREJ contingent will be marching after the annual Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Risk-Taker Awards, leaving B’nai Jeshurun (257 W. 88th St) at 9pm to start the march and action.
“The Laws that Killed Eric Garner” by Jay Michaelson in the Forward
“Mayor de Blasio Announces Retraining of New York Police” by Marc Santora in the NY Times
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