Shortly after a Staten Island grand jury announced their decision on Wednesday not to indict NYPD police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of 43-year-old Eric Garner, people took to social media to voice frustration. The decision came less than two weeks after a grand jury in St. Louis did not indict police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.
Protests erupted across the country after both grand jury decisions were announced. But cases pertaining to Michael Brown and Eric Garner were not the sole reasons behind demonstrations, but rather tipping points — the root of frustration goes far deeper.
To better understand just how deep, look no further than Twitter, where the conversation of race and culture in America took center stage, echoing the actions of protesters across the country.
Immediately after the Garner decision was announced, people voiced outrage using Garner’s last heard words, #ICantBreathe.
My 13 year-old son: "Dad, shouldn't that be more of a crime for a police officer since they're supposed to uphold the law?" #ICantBreathe
— David Asscherick (@dasscherick) December 4, 2014
Haven't been able to sleep because my mind wonders…what it will take. #ICantBreathe
— Daralene Jones (@DJonesWFTV) December 4, 2014
#BlackLivesMatter, a conversation that sparked during Ferguson, trended once again.
#BlackLivesMatter is not just a hashtag for those of us living in a society where you can be murdered by the police with no repercussions.
— LEFT®️ (@LeftSentThis) December 4, 2014
And in stark juxtaposition, #CrimingWhileWhite — white Twitter users’ public confesional for their alleged unpunished crimes and misdemeanors — trended alongside #AliveWhileBlack — a display of black Twitter users’ alleged punished crimes and encounters with discrimination.
OTHER WHITE PEOPLE: Tweet your stories of under-punished f-ups! It's embarrassing but important! Let's get #CrimingWhileWhite trending!
— Jason Ross (@jasonjross) December 3, 2014
Someones purse was stolen and she claimed i did it. I was handcuffed,questioned, only to find out she left it in her car. #alivewhileblack
— Itachi Uchiha (@brentonebronbjj) December 4, 2014
Forgot purse on roof of car, it flew off, was turned in to cops. Go to station to get it, threatened with littering ticket #AliveWhileBlack
— 💜🏳️🌈 ♿️✡️ Mx. Amadi (@amaditalks) December 4, 2014
Cops were called the day I moved into my new apartment in the Castro, waited for my new roommate to get there #alivewhileblack
— Mark S. Luckie (@marksluckie) December 4, 2014
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