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A Rough Day for the NYPD
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The NYPD had a bad news day last Friday.

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On Friday, February 12th, a federal grand jury began hearing evidence in the 2014 death of Eric Garner – an unarmed black man who died in a chokehold administered by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, a white man. Garner’s death was recorded on a bystander’s phone – a video of him clearly repeating “I can’t breathe” while the police officer choked him to death. The phrase “I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter movement.


Additionally, NYPD Officer Peter Liang, who shot and killed Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man, in a New York stairwell in 2014, was convicted today of manslaughter and official misconduct. The jury returned the guilty verdict after 17 hours of deliberation.

Both deaths garnered a lot of attention, especially in New York City. The questions of whether the police system is biased against black men, and whether justice is served when police officers commit crimes have been on the table for years now.

NYPD officers have previously revolted against the city’s insistence that there might be a race problem within the police force. Officers turned their backs on Mayor Bill DeBlasio at funerals for two police officers who were killed in the line of duty, after what they perceived as his attack on them as being the “bad guys.” This protest occurred despite the orders of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who supported the Mayor.

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A push for police reform has swept across America, trying to rebuild trust between cops and the people they are meant to serve and protect. New York is no exception to that rule – the city is trying to improve training and interpersonal relations between cops and communities. Mayor Bill DeBlasio promised last year, on the anniversary of Garner’s death, that the exposure of bad policing due to the case would “make [New York] a more just city,” and “a safer city.” However, instances of white police officers killing unarmed black men are still far too commonplace.


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