News Release

Police Killing: Death, Lies and Videotape

eric garnerHuffingtonPost reports: “A Grand Jury Did Indict One Person Involved In Eric Garner’s Killing — The Man Who Filmed It.” (See more, at bottom.)

GLEN FORD, glen.ford at blackagendareport.com, @GlenFordBAR
Executive editor of Black Agenda Report, Ford just wrote the piece “The New Movement: Are We There Yet?

MATTHEW FOGG, matthew.fogg at leap.cc, @marshalfogg
Fogg is a retired Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal and has recently returned to D.C. from Ferguson. He won the largest ever ($4 million) employee Title VII discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice. His book, Bigots with Badges (the same as a 1997 New York Post front page headline depicting his story) is forthcoming. He recently appeared on the panel “Police Body Cameras and Recording Misconduct” at the Cato Institute. See video on C-Span.org. He has been participating in protests in D.C. organized by the Hands Up CoalitionDC. Protests are continuing in front of the Department of Justice.

He said today: “Body cams or not, the problem you have to deal with is that the system is so systemically racially biased in its nature. America saw Eric Garner get choked to death on televised video just like we saw Rodney King get viciously beaten on video in our living rooms and still all the police misconduct was later justified. As a highly decorated veteran law officer, I knew the system culture would back me up, to include police, prosecutors and judges if my suspects were black but, if they were white, I was more concerned with that same system challenging my decisions and seeking out wrongdoing on my behalf.”

SHAHID BUTTAR, media at bordc.org, @bordc
Executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Buttar said today: “The movement to end police murder with impunity is not asking for solutions. It is demanding them, and the president’s body camera proposal does not even begin to answer the call. We will continue to see seemingly spontaneous mass demonstrations all across the country going forward, because the evasion of justice by the murderers of Eric Garner proves what Americans of color have long known: police can get away with anything, even murdering someone, in broad daylight, on videotape, without provocation, using illegal force methods. This movement will stop at nothing less than the end of police brutality, profiling, militarization, and mass incarceration.”

CARLOS MILLER, carlosmiller at pinac.org
Miller founded the website PhotographyIsNotACrime.com and is author of the just-released book The Citizen Journalist Photography Handbook. He said today: “I started my blog in 2007 after I was arrested for photographing cops on a journalistic assignment. My goal was to document my trial but when the State Attorney’s Office realized I had started a blog, they kept prolonging the trial in the hopes I would stop.

“During that time, people equipped with their new iPhones were finding themselves in positions where they could record police abuse, only they would be told it was illegal. So they came across my blog during their research because at that time, there was not a whole lot of information out there.

“My initial goal was for the blog to be temporary until I won my trial but it became a clearinghouse for these types of stories because the mainstream media wasn’t covering them.

“I’ve been arrested three times while filming police — the last time was when the police dispersed Occupy Miami. I tell people: you have to be so clean because they’ll find a way to come after you — it’s like a ‘Blue Mafia.’ They all stick together and will find any pretext to come after someone.”

Miller’s recent pieces include “NYPD Pays $55,000 to Arrested Videographer as Failed Twitter Campaign Continues to Expose Abuse” and “No Indictment for NYPD Cop Killing Man in Chokehold in Viral Video.”

The Huffington Post piece cited atop this news release notes: “On Wednesday, a Staten Island grand jury decided not to return an indictment for the police officer who put Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, in a chokehold shortly before his death. A different Staten Island grand jury was less sympathetic to Ramsey Orta, however, the man who filmed the entire incident.

“In August, less than a month after filming the fatal July 17 encounter in which Daniel Pantaleo and other NYPD police officers confronted Garner for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes, a grand jury indicted Orta on weapons charges stemming from an arrest by undercover officers earlier that month.”

Reuters reported “At some point during his arrest, Orta told officers, ‘You’re just mad because I filmed your boy,’ an NYPD spokeswoman said.” CBSNewYork reported: “Orta’s mother, Emily Mercado, said police have been following her son ever since he recorded Garner’s arrest.” The report quotes his wife, Chrissie Ortiz, stating: “The day after they declare it a homicide, you find someone next to him with a gun, and you saw him pass it off? Out in public when he knows he’s in the public spotlight? It makes no sense.”

Also, see: “Tracking Journalist Arrests at Occupy Protests Around the Country.”