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article imageWhite college students shutdown traffic to protest Garner death Special

By Ralph Lopez     Dec 13, 2014 in World
In Boston last night hundreds of students marched down the major thoroughfare Massachusetts Avenue, "Mass Ave," and methodically shut down major intersections by placing their bodies in the streets to protest the killing of Eric Garner.
The shut-downs lasted some minutes as traffic backed up and the student message became 'no business as usual.'
Starting in Cambridge near Harvard across the Charles River, the students, apparently well-organized and according to plan, lay down at the intersection of "Mass Ave" and Prospect Streets, the busiest intersection in Cambridge after Harvard Square.
A citizen-journalist recording video asked a young black man who stood as an onlooker what he thought of the action. "Is this something you've been waiting for?" the reporter asked. Visibly moved, the young man replies: "All my life."
Cambridge police were present in numbers as the protesters were tracked marching down Mass Ave, but wore no helmets, and appeared bare-headed and without riot gear. Some smiled as they looked on and stopped traffic, apparently more in an attempt to shield the students from oncoming cars than to corral the students.
Chanting alternately "I can't breath!" and "Shut it down!" the protesters then rose and continued their march down the street past MIT, and across the river into Boston. Although the Cambridge police wore bundles of plastic zip-ties ordinarily used in mass arrests, no arrests were made, and the officers showed marked restraint.
On July 14, 2014, Eric Garner died as the result of a choke hold banned by the New York City police command since 1993, according to New York City medical examiners. NBC New York reported:
The city medical examiner has ruled the death of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old father whose death in police custody sparked national outrage, a homicide, saying a chokehold killed him. The medical examiner said compression of the neck and chest, along with Garner's positioning on the ground while being restrained by police during the July 17 stop on Staten Island, caused his death.
Bystanders said Garner, age 43 and the father of six, had just broken up a fight, but NYPD alleges that Garner was selling loose cigarettes from a pack, a misdemeanor in that jurisdiction. In the video Garner is complaining of continual harassment by police and is asking to be left alone, addressing the police as "officer."
Garner is then suddenly set upon by four to five both uniformed and plainclothes police, with officer Daniel Panteleo, who has a large tattoo on his forearm, placing Garner in the banned choke hold which has been responsible for numerous suspect deaths in New York City and elsewhere.
In 1993 NYPD Commander John Timoney banned the hold, stating:
"We are in the business of protecting life, not taking it."
The hold is one which pinches the carotid artery and windpipe at the same time, cutting off both blood and oxygen to the brain. In 1998 NYPD Officer Officer Francis Livoti was successfully prosecuted by federal authorities after a local grand jury failed to return an indictment against him in the death of Anthony Ramon Baez, after Livoti placed Baez in a choke hold. A football thrown between Baez and his brothers had hit police cars parked on their street. Livoti was eventually sentenced to seven years in federal prison.
The marchers in Boston numbered in the hundreds as their column spanned a city block, and were predominantly white.
Police possess a wide array of tools and trained skills to force the submission to arrest of a suspect, from arm and wrist locks, to tazers, mace, and batons.
Eric Garner
Eric Garner
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