“When someone takes a beating or gets killed by police, city bureaucracies go into siege mode, reflexively stalling and delaying at every turn. The patience of complainants and their families is stretched to the limit. Embarrassing information, if it ever comes out, comes out years later, long after the streets have calmed down.”
Crickey! Another plunge into the abyss of ‘first world’ depravity, courtesy of America, the world’s leading offender in occidental inhumanity. No one, but no one does it like the USA. What is it this time? Take my breath away once again, make my eyes-bulge with shock, my cognition jar with disbelief & incredulity…churn my guts & make me gag. The golden cup of civilian blood-letting. You know, what’s worse than America’s expanding predisposition for killing its own citizens is what comes afterwards. That’s really’ really where you see how obscene this country is & how injustice on an indescribable dial or altitude is fully assimilated, if not sanctified, right at the crest of that savage shit-heap of a country. I Can’t Breathe sticks just such subsequent violations & defilements under the magnifying glass. It’s penned by a major heavy-weight of the field, journalist Matt Taibbi. I first experienced Taibbi’s work in his astonishing The Divide (2014). It was an exceptional book, for many reasons, but what fried my circuits more than anything was the insight into the absolute nightmare of the modern American ‘justice’ system & the depot of immorality-ordinance that is used through demographically-specific ‘by-laws’ & policing methods to render a situation that is truly, with zero exaggeration, – dystopic, despotic & Kafkaesque. Literally. It is in part (it is not, unfortunately, like it is the countries only active major offense) why I cannot abide the American model & declare it inhumane in the first degree. I Can’t Breathe expands on the latter, bringing Matt’s exceptional forensics to this quasi-hidden (unless of course, your poor or black enough to be on the receiving end of such flagrant tyranny) perversity. The centrifuge of this book is the 2014 murder of Eric Garner by police officers in New York. You may recall that Garner was suffocated with an illegal choke-hold, for selling bootleg cigarettes. It was an extremely controversial killing (which only gets more awful with the books details, lead-up & additional background research), even in a country that has normalized controversial killings, perhaps most notably as Garner was repeatedly protesting that “I can’t breathe” whilst he was being asphyxiated to death by multiple police officers (one officer performed the strangulation whilst other pinioned). The only reason it did not slide into the chasm of overcrowded, business-as-usual police brutality mass murder is that a young hood filmed the whole shebang & then passed it to a journalist. It swiftly went online & went viral. The world was once again aghast at the iniquitous fucking horror of the malign American machine in spewing its savage pornographic degeneracy. Now! being clearly filmed, being strangled-to-death by multiple law officers by an illegal-choke-hold for a cigarette, in an ostensibly functioning democracy with a self-professed ‘world’s greatest’ sense of justice…case closed right? Guilty verdicts, officers dishonored & behind bars, compensation for the family, justice restored. This being America, the height of all shit-shams, & a blazing beacon of darkest malevolence, fundamental societal corruption & turbo-hypocrisy, they all get away with it (& they end up blaming the protesters). Nothing surprises me in that fuck-up of a country anymore. Matt’s book sheds some light on the character that murdered Garner…officer Daniel Pantaleo. To cut it short, he had a bad record, specifically it seems for sexual molestation (homosexual), which he ‘administered’ through reasonable suspicion/stop & frisk. By the end of the book, the descriptions, the actions, the record, it sounds very much like Pantaleo was a closet-fag, who used his occupation to stimulate his own deeply twisted gratification. It’s clear by his record, that he really has a thing for cavity searches, which he often conducts in the middle of the street (can you fucking believe that the country actually allows for such obscenity?). a particularly graphic account of one such squalid escapade, which went down prior to Garners death, is given by Charles Roberson. & there’s more, including at least one case where the NYPD were forced, after a law-suit was filed against them (involving Pantaleo), for the same gratuitous homosexual molestation & ultra-fucked weirdo humiliation fixation, to pay out compensation to the three victims maltreated in the crimes (relabeled as ‘misconduct’ for minimization & impunity purposes). What kind of a freak, would want to stop strangers in the street, pull down their garbs, insert fingers into their anus, stare in, grope cocks, pull-back prepuces? & furthermore, not in any way saying that it would be condonable to perpetrate on the opposite sex, but for fucks sakes! – the same sex? What kind of psychology are we talking about here? I mean who in the fuck? What in the fuck? In Roberson’s incident, the ‘probable cause’ was zilch (with no resulting charges of any kind whatsoever). The objective seems to have been the genital-groping, rectal insertions, anal-gazing, & some kind of depraved pleasure in extreme, sexualized humiliation. Welcome to America. Even worse still, despite major efforts by various legal parties, Pantaleo’s internal file (including a log with the Civilian Complaint Review Board), which would of listed a few of those that actually processed complaints against this sick turd (you can only imagine how many of his crimes went unreported), was vehemently refused disclosure by the NYPD. To this day, they are keeping his dirt deep in the dark.
“The part that really bothered Erica (Eric Garner’s daughter) was that Pantaleo even now was still on the police payroll. Even after his history came out, even after he’d killed someone-he was still police.”
Much of Garners life, character & habitat is meticulously restored/retold with rich accounts from those that new him & his area best. Inevitably, with so many corpses to pick from, it’s definitely not just the death of Eric Garner that gets attention here. A sprawl of recent, & ancient police crimes & murders are pulled into the swell (one of the most shocking of which was of Carnell Russ, who was shot dead for ‘asking for a receipt’ by officer Charles Lee Ratliff, who has never been jailed). The scope of examination is incredible. & it’s really necessary because, to say the least, this abomination of a system, this repulsive malpractice, it’s just not sustainable. It’s not simply the corrupt tactics & cops, the indemnity, the absurd poverty that necessitates so much of this awful cycle, the rife racism & it’s institutionalized nature… it’s also this hell-like, carte-blanch, fit-anything amorphous ‘rules of engagement’ that allows uniformed goons to harass, grossly maltreat, rob, terrorize, target, & worse – almost anybody they like (massively determined by class, income & colour). Law facilitates crime. The police in the US can now even ‘legally’ steal your stuff, even your money, known as ‘forfeiture’. The capacity for criminal abuse is accommodated with luxurious legal cushioning. ‘Reasonable suspicion’, ‘obstructing pedestrian traffic’, ‘obstructing government administration’, ‘refusal to obey a lawful order’ (let’s look in your arse for no reason), resisting arrest (not letting yourself be manhandled, beaten, attacked, cavity rummaged), ‘the third degree’, on & on. I would say that one of the most difficult things to achieve in the US, is the successful prosecution of a police officer. No matter how guilty, it requires a miracle in all but the most exceptional of cases. Worse still, & as Taibbi goes to great lengths to disclose, the lower-level court system (where you will end up if you are not rich &/or accused of committing class tailored crimes) is pretty much designed for expedited injustice. It is an awful’ awful, outrageously unacceptable, putrid & immoral system. A mess. A crime in & of itself. A blight on the entire species & the entire worlds conscience, a sin (non-religious, existential). America – fostering, maintaining, accepting, continuing & even “constituting” these kind of unspeakable crimes against humanity, has absolutely no verifiable claim for being an even vaguely civilized country. You cannot treat your citizens (any of them) like this, nor can you preside over systems & policy like this & claim, even one inch of the higher ground. Utter immorality from this shambling unjust monster. – someone, with great skill, attention to detail & keenness for righteousness & solution has been documenting the turpitude & preserving some of the inner details of this American shit-storm… thank you Mr Taibbi ,& everyone else, anywhere that works to ending this evil). Fuck USA.
“In these cases, obscure exception and precedents are constantly unearthed to narrow the field of culpability to a vanishing point. Often in the end, the law says that not only is no one responsible for the death of someone killed by a police officer, no one can be responsible.”
Matt Taibbi-Penguin/Random House-2017