Thursday, June 21, 2018


I. Introduction

This petition is brought against the United States by Eric Garner's mother, widow, and children on behalf of their deceased son, husband, and father, Eric Garner, for violating the rights guaranteed to him under the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man ("American Declaration").

In 2014, a U.S. police officer killed Eric Garner--without provocation or justification of any kind--partly through the use of a prohibited chokehold. Mr. Garner, a black U.S. citizen, was stopped by police and accused of selling loose cigarettes. Some of Eric Garner's final words were denials of this charge, but even so, he was sentenced to a painful death. "I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe." These were Eric Garner's last words as Officer Daniel Pantaleo choked him and shoved his face into the concrete sidewalk. These were *37 his last words as four N.Y.P.D. officers piled on him and he lay on the pavement dying. Only after Eric Garner lost consciousness did an officer turn him on his side to give him access to air. He was pronounced dead one hour later.

The New York City medical examiner declared Mr. Garner's death the result of homicide. Former president Barack Obama condemned the death, citing the larger American problem of systemic racism in police forces. Even former president George W. Bush found Eric Garner's senseless killing "hard to understand." None of the involved officers and emergency medical technicians were permanently suspended or fired the exception of the black supervising officer present at the scene--and the district attorney declined to prosecute Pantaleo without the go-ahead from the grand jury. Even though there was a video detailing the sad escalation of violence committed upon Eric Garner, of him begging for air, and of an illegal chokehold, the grand jury failed to indict.

Eric Garner's family suffered greatly as a result of this extra-judicial killing. Above all, they seek to eliminate the racially discriminatory abuse of black men by the U.S. police and police brutality in general. Eric Garner's family repeatedly turned to U.S. courts to seek redress for the violations of their son, husband, and father's rights and an affirmation that the police's inhumane treatment of him resulted in his tragic death; however, the courts have failed this litmus test in all respects.

*38 The United States' killing of Eric Garner constitutes multiple violations of the American Declaration. First, the refusal to relent in choking Mr. Garner, despite his desperate pleas, coupled with his placement in an illegal chokehold that resulted in death, places the United States in violation of Mr. Garner's rights under Article I of the American Declaration. Second, the denial of immediate and appropriate emergency health services as Mr. Garner fell unconscious violated his rights under Article XXV of the American Declaration. Finally, the foregoing conduct, due, at least implicitly, to racial bias, also violated Mr. Garner's rights under Article II of the American Declaration.

Eric Garner's family--the Petitioners on behalf of their son, husband, and father--respectfully requests that the Commission investigate this matter and hold a hearing on the merits.

 

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