Jesse Jackson on NYPD: Didn’t protect & didn’t serve
President Barack Obama wants to spend $75 million to put body cameras on the nation’s police, but Rev. Jesse Jackson expressed skepticism over the plan, saying there was video of Eric Garner and it didn’t lead to an indictment.
There have been two days of protests since the Staten Island grand jury failed to indict a New York police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, who was targeted for selling ‘loosie’ cigarettes.
In an interview with RT, the civil rights leader said he was very disappointed with the outcome of the grand jury, which decided not to indict over Officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing Garner with a chokehold.
“It was so obvious that four police sieged [sic] a man on a basis that does not stand to reason and choked him to death. And while one basically did the choking, the others watched him. They did not defend or protect him, and so he is dead,” said Jackson.
“Another unarmed black man killed by the police who are paid to protect and serve, they didn’t protect and they didn’t serve. And the jury set them free. It’s an act of terrorism.”
Jackson said that terrorism against unarmed black men has a long legacy stretching from Emmett Till and Medgar Evers in Mississippi through to unarmed Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old recently shot in Cleveland (who was carrying a pellet gun). He said the Justice Department should enforce its rules and protect people from terrorism.
Jackson was asked about the Obama administration’s plan to introduce 50,000 body cameras to the nation’s police departments to help in defusing encounters with police and the public, but he was not convinced.
“The cameras were on the police who beat Rodney King in California and they walked away from a jury that was stacked. The cameras were on Eric Garner – and he was filmed – and they walked away,” said Jackson.
The civil rights campaigner said the focus should be on the economy, not on the police, who are only the gatekeepers. He said the banks foreclosed on homes, and bankers drove down the economy.
“Ferguson is a metaphor for abandoned, neglected urban America. It’s a metaphor for racial disparity. Blacks are 12 times more likely to be arrested than whites, spend more time in jail for less crime.”