There will be no trial for the murder of Eric Garner. Today, a Staten Island grand jury voted not to bring criminal charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the white New York City police officer who held Garner in a chokehold until his death. Pantaleo suspected Garner, who was unarmed, of selling loose cigarettes. The entire confrontation was caught on video. Chokeholds are forbidden by the NYPD. Garner was black, asthmatic, and 43 years old.
Before he died, Garner said “I can’t breathe” 11 times. #ICantBreathe is trending on Twitter worldwide. But another Garner-inspired hashtag is making the rounds as a rallying cry in response to a terrifically tone deaf tweet from the NYPD:
— Chief Joanne Jaffe (@NYPDCommAffairs) December 3, 2014
Where does one even begin to describe how poorly thought-out this tweet is? There’s the invocation of the term “rebuilding,” based on the assumption that this “public trust” was only recently demolished and, at some point in time, definitively existed. There’s the phrase itself, “We hear you,” which is just begging to be ripped apart by everyone who, because of the video, has been able to bear witness to Garner’s death, and will ask, “if you can hear us, why couldn’t you hear him?” And there’s the fact that Chief Jaffe hashtagged that foolishly chosen phrase, #wehearyou, inviting a tidal wave of furious responses:
if u heard us, u would've heard how Eric Garner plead for his life, while he was gasping for air…nah.. you don't hear us. #wehearyou
— Kornelius Bascombe (@Korn4) December 3, 2014
— Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh) December 3, 2014
— Matthew Hunziker (@DogCitizen) December 3, 2014
— Jia Tolentino (@jiatolentino) December 3, 2014
— Mike Street (@MrMikeStreet) December 3, 2014
— Steve Helling (@stevehelling) December 3, 2014
— Greg Jacob (@gregjacob01) December 3, 2014
— Sonia Bhagat (@SoniaAnanti) December 3, 2014
— Maurice Bobb™ (@ReeseReport) December 3, 2014
Read the hashtagged outrage in real time here.