Writing, Organizing, & Creative Arts
“We can’t breathe faced with this injustice. We can’t breathe because we are seething with rage. We must revolt — for a breath of freedom and justice.”
“Some things are so basic, so elementary, so simple and straightforward that they simply cannot stand: not in the US, not in Mexico, not in Greece, not in Palestine, not in France, not in Hong Kong, not in Brazil, not in South Africa, not in Kurdistan, nowhere.
Because like this we cannot breathe — and in the universal sense of suffocation we feel at the hands of the capitalist state and its forces of order, we are one. Some of us are greatly privileged, to be sure, but our enemy is one and the same.
From New York to Greece, we must revolt against the police. As the great Franz Fanon so astutely put it, “when we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.”
— Four years ago, few seemed to care when Rodney Brown uttered, “I can’t breathe” after being tased 11 times by Cleveland police officers during a New Year’s Eve traffic stop – at least that’s how his family felt. Brown was dead less than an hour after a confrontation with police over a relatively minor infraction.
STANTON ISLAND, NEW YORK
Eric Garner could not breathe when being choked to death…
He said so eleven times…
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
From the moment Los Angeles police handcuffed him, Jorge Azucena told officers he needed help.
“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” he pleaded.
“I have asthma, I have asthma.”
In the half-hour or so after his arrest late one night last September, Azucena said over and over that he was struggling for breath. Numerous LAPD officers and sergeants heard his pleas for medical attention but ignored them even as his condition visibly worsened.
“You can breathe just fine,” one sergeant told him. “You can talk, so you can breathe.”
Azucena could not walk or stand by the time officers brought him to a South Los Angeles police station for booking. So they carried him into a cell, leaving him lying face-down on the floor. He was soon unconscious. When paramedics arrived shortly after, Azucena’s heart had stopped.
– Anthony D. Clark Reed, 24, took his last breath two blocks from his father Pastor Kevin Clark’s Springwells Avenue Baptist Church, after Detroit police officers stopped him on Vernor on the city’s southwest side March 30, allegedly because his car had tinted windows. But he had broken no laws.
COCONUT BEACH, FLORIDA
“Calvon Reid died in police custody in Cocunut Creek, Florida. He explained to officers that he just wanted to be left alone. But officers said this was not an option for him. They threatened him, cursed at him, and finally attacked him.
He explained that he couldn’t breathe. But that cry fell on deaf ears. Officers tasered him and he eventually died in police custody. Since then, the Coconut Creek Police Department has been trying to cover up the killing. Now the community is demanding answers.
SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA
…At one point he heard (Kelly) Thomas say “I can’t breathe”
and that that didn’t give him concern that officers should get up
because Thomas was fighting and able to talk. He said the fact
that Thomas said he couldn’t breathe wasn’t cause enough to
instruct officers to get off of Thomas. The Orange County
Coroner’s Office ruled Kelly Thomas died July 10, 2011, from
a lack of oxygen to the brain brought on by compression to the
chest and by head and facial injuries.
Eric Harris: ‘I’m losing my breath.’ Second officer: ‘Fuck your breath’
Pussy Riot honors Eric Garner in ‘I Can’t Breathe’ song …
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