The late Eric Garner’s last words before he died were “I can’t breathe.”
Andrew Kearse’s first words before he died were “I can’t breathe, please” while handcuffed in the back of a police car for fleeing from a traffic stop.
What the late Eric Garner and Andrew Kearse have in common is that both men of color have been intentionally mistreated by police officers and as a result, they both were arrested, suffered and died in different parts of their hometown, New York City.
The reality of men and women of color dying in police custody is sadly becoming the norm of this society. Black and brown people suffer the most.
Why do you think that is? The answer is simply because we are black and brown, and black and brown people are neglected by the majority.
Black and brown people must constantly reshape the narrative that society crafted of the notion that black is anything but beautiful. The notion is that black is “thug.” The notion is that brown is illiterate. The notion is that black will never succeed and only adapts to labor. The notion is that brown isn’t deserving of medical treatment, so as a result they plead they can’t breathe.
Last May, “while he (Kearse) was being transported to the Schenectady New York Police Station, he began pleading for his life,” according to BET.com.
Kearse made it known to the police officers that something wasn’t right and that he immediately needed medical attention. Kearse showed multiple signs of distress while handcuffed in the back of the police car, and the Schenectady police officers still ignored his cries.
Angelique Negroni-Kearse, the grieving widow of the late Andrew Kearse, took matters in her own hands and “recorded the audio when the Attorney General Office showed her the dash-cam video last month,” according to News10 ABC.
Listening to the released audio clip is very painful. Hearing Kearse’s constant cries and pleading out to the officer to get his attention was heartbreaking. The reaction of pain and confusion of Kearse’s wife as she watches her dying husband beg the police officers to help him is indescribable. Schenectady police officers mocked and ignored him and to make matters worse, Kearse was gasping for air throughout the 9-minute audio clip.
“Kearse can be heard breathing heavily and eventually he says ‘medic’ and the police officer responds “Is it hot? You probably shouldn’t run then son,” according to BET.com.
The officer’s response to Kearse shows that he didn’t care whether Kearse lived or died. Andrew Kearse suffered a heart attack and died before arriving to the Schenectady police station.
When the late Philando Castile was shot four times in his chest in front of his girlfriend and child, the police officer ignored the fact that he was doing the right thing by informing him that he had a licensed concealed weapon.
When the late Eric Garner was selling untaxed cigarettes, he made it clear to the officers that he wasn’t bothering anybody and he still was killed. When the late Alton Sterling was selling CDs in front of a convenience store, harming absolutely no one, he still got shot twice in his chest.
None of these men deserved to die, and these are only a few names of the never-ending list of slain men and women of color.
Black and brown families are broken because society feels that black lives don’t matter. Mothers and wives are grieving. Children and loved one are hurting. Blackand brown lives have always mattered despite society trying to tell us otherwise. Say his name, #AndrewKearse.