This article originally appeared on the blog of Heretic, the magazine of We Are Libertarians.
Six years ago today, Eric Garner was brutally murdered by NYPD cops.
He was nonviolent. He was nonresistant. He was a good man.
Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who killed Garner, had a history of abusing his power and racism against black men.
Pantaleo was never held criminally or civilly liable for Garner’s murder. He was not even fired from NYPD until five years after the murder.
No other cops complicit in Garner’s death were held accountable.
Garner died struggling to say “I can’t breathe” over and over. His dying words have become a battle cry for justice in the years sense.
Many people agree that the murder of Garner and the protests that rose up around the country (and the world) immediately afterwords marks the unofficial start of the modern Black Lives Matter movement. In those six years, BLM and their allies have made important gains, both in local and federal police reform efforts and in raising awareness about the prevalence of systemic racism.
I pray for a day when BLM is no longer needed, but God knows they have been needed the past six years and will likely be needed for many more. Until the state’s power is stripped, until enough of us are willing to acknowledge the existence of white privilege and systemic racism, until enough of us are willing to strongly confront our own racism as well as the racism of our friends and family, BLM will continue to be needed.
Thank God for the work they’ve done so far, and please God let their work be accomplished sooner than we can reasonably hope.