As painful and disturbing it was to watch George Floyd’s final moments and hear his final words of “I can’t breathe,” his murder sparked a historic movement that will hopefully be felt for generations to come.
Now that many have been forced to do some soul searching and reflecting, former New York City Police Department spokesman, Michael DeBonis looked back on the 2014 death of Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD and admitted what we already knew, they killed him. The New York Post is reporting that in an instagram post the 40-year-old ex-detective took to tasks the cops who made Garner originally utter the infamous words “I can’t breathe” and called their actions a “horrible injustice.”
Starting off the post by saying he is “fully aware that some of my cop friends may call me a traitor, a hypocrite or even un follow me,” DeBonis spoke truth to power when he explained that though their original bust of Garner for hustling cigarettes was legal, their actions ultimately weren’t warranted. “WE PUNISHED HIM FOR RESISTING ARREST … WE WATCHED HIM DIE … WE DIDN’T EVEN SIT HIM UP AND RENDER HIM BASIC AID.”
After venting on his page about the horrible murder of Garner, DeBonis admitted “I’m a hypocrite for saying this now, because I didn’t say it publicly then, but WE ALL need to hold ourselves accountable.”
Though it seemed like his heart was in the right place at the moment, DeBonis took down the post after The New York Post reached out to him for comment on the matter.
So much for that.
To this day there hasn’t been justice for Garner as his killer, officer Daniel Pantaleo was never charged with anything even though Garner’s death was ruled a homicide. Though Pantaleo was eventually fired from his job last year (years after he killed Garner), he did at one point get a pay raise after he was placed on desk duty in 2016.
The murder did spark outrage across the board and helped catapult the Black Lives Matter movement, but it took George Floyd’s murder and word-for-word “I can’t breathe” statement for the powers that be to finally pay attention and try to enact some change.
Hopefully this is just the beginning of actual police reform.