I Can't Breathe
An exploration into the roots and aftermath of the infamous killing of Eric Garner by the police in a work of riveting literary journalism from the bestselling author of The Divide.On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in Staten Island, New York City, after a police officer put him in what has been described as a “chokehold” during an arrest for selling “loosies,” or single cigarettes. The final moments of his life were captured on video and seen by millions, sparking a nationwide series of protests that built into the “Black Lives Matter” movement that has transformed American politics.Weeks after Garner’s death, two New York City police officers were killed by a young black man from Maryland, in what he claimed was revenge for Garner’s death. Those killings in turn led to police protests, clashes with New York’s new liberal mayor, and an eventual work slow-down.Taibbi tells a compelling story of the crime, the grand jury, the media circus, the murder of the police, and the protests from every side.

I Can't Breathe Details

TitleI Can't Breathe
Author
ReleaseOct 24th, 2017
PublisherSpiegel & Grau
ISBN-139780812988840
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Politics, Race, History, Mystery

I Can't Breathe Review

  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    ERIC GARNER died on the streets of Staten Island on July 17, 2014 at the hands of a New York City Police Officer. He was 43 years old, weighed 350 pounds at the time and was in poor health. He was also a known drug dealer. As a big, imposing man, he was intimidating, but for the most part well-liked and harmless. He loved his family, wanted to provide for them, but made poor choices repeatedly spending a considerable amount of time in and out of prison.Despite his criminal lifestyle, despite res ERIC GARNER died on the streets of Staten Island on July 17, 2014 at the hands of a New York City Police Officer. He was 43 years old, weighed 350 pounds at the time and was in poor health. He was also a known drug dealer. As a big, imposing man, he was intimidating, but for the most part well-liked and harmless. He loved his family, wanted to provide for them, but made poor choices repeatedly spending a considerable amount of time in and out of prison.Despite his criminal lifestyle, despite resisting (a false) arrest, ERIC did not deserve the brutal treatment that caused his demise.I CAN'T BREATHE covers ERIC'S tumultuous family life, references numerous police brutality cases, and gives the reader a look at the life of the man who recorded the video....before and after.Also covered is the shocking 'no indictment' verdict and the $5.9M out of court settlement paid by the NYPD.Informative and well written read that addresses the racial divide in our country, current leadership and political issues that often get in the way of the truth.Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Theresa Alan
    January 1, 1970
    I found this nonfiction book hard to put down. It’s about Eric Garner and his death at the hands of overzealous police, but it’s also about all the lawyers and judges and policies in place to protect police officers and encourage the harassment of black and brown people. Garner comes off as a sympathetic though flawed individual. The police officers and other members of law enforcement do not come off looking good at all. This is not about good cops; it’s about the bad ones who go unpunished. I’ I found this nonfiction book hard to put down. It’s about Eric Garner and his death at the hands of overzealous police, but it’s also about all the lawyers and judges and policies in place to protect police officers and encourage the harassment of black and brown people. Garner comes off as a sympathetic though flawed individual. The police officers and other members of law enforcement do not come off looking good at all. This is not about good cops; it’s about the bad ones who go unpunished. I’ve been a fan of Matt Taibbi’s journalism for years, and this book cemented my admiration for his work. He criticizes liberals and conservatives alike for allowing this sort of discriminatory policing to be encouraged. Garner was a large man and an easy bust, and because of various quotas police officers were given, he was often arrested for his petty crimes. He didn’t get worked up when he was arrested for actually committing a crime, but they harassed him when he’d just be doing his laundry at the laundry mat or something, too. The man who took the famous video of Garner was also harassed endlessly after the video went viral the world over. Some of the minor crimes he did commit, but many of the busts were entirely fabricated to get him to cop to a plea. The descriptions of police brutality are hard to read. What this book is more concerned about, though, are things like why the prosecuting attorney Dan Donovan brought in 50 witnesses and yet failed to bring an indictment against the officer who did the illegal chokehold. (Daniel Pantaleo is still a police officer despite numerous abuse allegations, including completely unfounded strip searches conducted on the street in broad daylight.) Moreover, countless lawyers tried to get the grand jury information unsealed, to no avail. What did they have to hide? Donovan successfully ran as a Republican to fill the seat by congressman Michael Grimm, who’d been indicted on twenty federal counts. You may remember him as the lovely man who told a reporter (while a TV crew was filming) that he’d throw him over the balcony. The reason the Garner case made so much news is because it was all caught on video. “Absent the cellphone videos, in other words, nobody would like have heard how Eric Garner really died.” But in this way his case was the exception.I was shocked to hear all the obstacles a person has to go through to get a substantiated abuse charge against a police officer. All we, the public, ever hear about are the families who get million-dollar settlements. They represent virtually none of the cases actually alleged. This is an important book about race and policing—not just individual police officers but the system as a whole. I could quote huge passages from this book. Highly recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to review this advanced copy. RELEASES OCTOBER 24.For more of my reviews, please visit: http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    I am going to review this book at some point. But, the world we live in right now is just crazy!! Information regarding the author of this book, which came to light just as I turned the last pages of this book have stunned me. While, I realize this is a story that needs telling, that Eric's daughter, Erica, needs the whole story told, and is counting on this book, and it is an important book, I'm going to come back to it after things with this author are clearer, and I can approach it without th I am going to review this book at some point. But, the world we live in right now is just crazy!! Information regarding the author of this book, which came to light just as I turned the last pages of this book have stunned me. While, I realize this is a story that needs telling, that Eric's daughter, Erica, needs the whole story told, and is counting on this book, and it is an important book, I'm going to come back to it after things with this author are clearer, and I can approach it without those images in my mind.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    "A masterly narrative of urban America and a scathing indictment of the perverse incentives built into our penal system, I Can’t Breathe drills down into the particulars of one case to confront us with the human cost of our broken approach to dispensing criminal justice." from the publisher's websiteTaibbi's book I Can't Breathe explains the evolution of discrimination justified by being 'tough on crime' and how it lead to the death of Eric Garner, which fueled the Black Lives Matter movement. R "A masterly narrative of urban America and a scathing indictment of the perverse incentives built into our penal system, I Can’t Breathe drills down into the particulars of one case to confront us with the human cost of our broken approach to dispensing criminal justice." from the publisher's websiteTaibbi's book I Can't Breathe explains the evolution of discrimination justified by being 'tough on crime' and how it lead to the death of Eric Garner, which fueled the Black Lives Matter movement. Random House sent me an email offering pre-approval to read I Can't Breathe by Matt Taibbi. I downloaded the book to check it out, and realized it was the perfect book to build upon other recent reads about justice and race, including Just Mercy by Bryon Stevenson, Detroit: 1967, Reading with Patrick by Michelle Kuo, and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.I had acquired a basic understanding that the justice system was inherently racist. Taibbi's thorough consideration of the death of Eric Garner explained the political and social pressures that changed police culture after overt institutional racism was pushed underground.Taibbi presents a balanced portrait of a beloved family man who was deeply flawed, as we all are, but whom Taibbi came to truly like. Readers will connect to Eric, a bigger than life, eccentric character. Unemployable because of a prior conviction, Eric supports his family by creating a business selling 'loosies', black market cigarettes smuggled in from states with lower cigarette taxes and sold individually. Eric is jailed and fined over and over. When Americans became worried about crime during the tumultuous 1970s politicians began offering promises to be 'tough on crime.' White Americans were afraid of urban African Americans. In the 1990s, New York City led the way by pushing for increased arrests. Cops were to stop and frisk first to see if they could turn up anything to justify an arrest! People were targeted by color, attire, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, reaching for their pocket--but the real motivation was racism. Blacks and Hispanics in high-crime neighborhoods were targeted.Cops publicly humiliated their victims by public cavity searches and the use of unnecessary brute force was common. The system protected the cops.Garner stood out. He was big, he wore clothes that were literally falling apart, and he stood in the same place day after day. He had asthma. He had been looking poorly and was tired. He was robbed and beaten up, financially always struggling to support his family. Garner was an easy catch for a cop who needed to meet his quota. He was stopped and searched hundreds of times and when cops discovered a few packs of cigarettes he would be arrested and his money confiscated.Garner's son had just earned a scholarship to college, and Garner was the father of a new baby when he broke up a street fight. Cops who had been watching the fight arrested Garner even though he had not sold a cigarette all morning. Ramsey Orta saw the arrest and filmed it with his cellphone. When Garner countered that he had not done anything wrong and was not going to be arrested that day, four officers went after Garner and pushed him to the ground."I can't breathe," he said over and over. And then he stopped breathing and the cops did nothing. Taibbi put Garner's death in perspective of how policing changed: instituting 'reasonable' suspicion as a validating a stop and frisk; the adoption of "Broken Windows" and the emphasis on policing as keeping 'order', creating a 'goal setting' culture; zero-tolerance policing and 'predictive policing'. Groups rose up to challenge the discriminatory methods but had little success. Eric's daughter Erica Garner worked for justice for her father. Bureaucracy protected the cops and left the families of victims without justice. Orta's cell phone video made him a police target. Politicians got involved for personal attention. Protest groups arose demanding justice, including Black Lives Matter.I am disgusted by how often I hear people counter Black Lives Matter with "all lives matter." That is true, but not all 'lives' are targeted because of color or where they live. A few years back I visited a college friend living in Detroit. Driving home I was lost and tense. When I got to an overpass with no cars I sped up a bit and was pulled over by a cop. The cop said, "don't say anything," and took my driver's license. He came back and said, "I will write this up so you don't have it on your record, but you will pay a fine." I wondered then what it was that caused him to do this? My clean driving record? And today I wonder, if I were a person of color, would he have searched my car and person looking for evidence to arrest me?I have never felt so protected and cushioned by the accident of my color as I have after reading I Can't Breathe. I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
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  • Andre
    January 1, 1970
    Although I've read quite a few books dealing with unjustified killings of mostly black men, I'm still shocked at how the systemic racism inherent in the criminal justice system conspires to twice victimize those who are unfortunate enough to get caught up in the system. First by death, and then by the denial of justice.Matt Taibbi takes a look here at the killing of Eric Garner who was basically choked to death and despite the whole world seeing a man saying " I can't breathe" eleven times no on Although I've read quite a few books dealing with unjustified killings of mostly black men, I'm still shocked at how the systemic racism inherent in the criminal justice system conspires to twice victimize those who are unfortunate enough to get caught up in the system. First by death, and then by the denial of justice.Matt Taibbi takes a look here at the killing of Eric Garner who was basically choked to death and despite the whole world seeing a man saying " I can't breathe" eleven times no one has been held responsible for his death. What Taibbi does in this book is what the media failed to do in the aftermath of Garner's killing. He humanizes the person that is Eric Garner. He extensively talks to family members, friends, shop owners, customers, other hustlers and constructs for the reader what life for Eric Garner looked like on a daily basis, and how all the forces of his past, plus the politics and the history of policing coalesced that fateful day, July 17, 2014. "Garner was caught in the crossfire of a thousand narratives that had little or nothing to do with him personally. Everything from a police commissioner’s mania for statistics to the opportunistic avarice of real estate developers had brought him in contact with police that day."He writes with a confident knowing prose and portions of the book have the feel of a novel as he details the area and various characters in and around Staten Island, where Eric Garner spent most of his time. The bureaucracy that keeps bodies moving through the criminal justice system is put under a microscope here and will have readers shaking their heads as to how easily it is to ruin someone's life because no one truly cares about what is going on and why the corruption is allowed to go unabated. Taibbi certainly makes it clear that some lives are valued over others and all the data coming out of the NYC police department, court and jail back this up. Pedro Serrano is an officer that decided to tape his superiors and his evidence was used in the lawsuit to end the practice of stop and frisk. Some of his comments and taped conversations are chilling and give excellent insight into how a culture of fear and loathing is created in the average police officer. He was actually told by a deputy inspector to stop young black men. “The problem was what?” McCormack said. “Male blacks. And I told you at roll call, I have no problem telling you this, male blacks, fourteen to twenty, twenty-one. I said this at roll call.”These kinds of inclusions along with looks at the charging and negotiating of crimes process, the district attorney and defense attorney chess games makes this book hum along. By the books' end you will think of Eric Garner differently and hopefully that difference will forever change how you understand the "system."Matt Taibbi started out to write a policy book with the Garner killing as central to talk about how models of policing, like stop and frisk can go horribly wrong and the effects of that. He ended up with a very different book, because when he got to Bay St., in Staten Island, NY and begun talking to people he developed a real liking for Eric, and the focus of the project became flushing out the story of who Eric Garner was. And by altering the course of this book hoped to change the impression of Eric Garner from political symbol to human being who was loved and appreciated by friends and family like. I think readers will be pleased by Taibbi's decision to change current and will agree that he has succeeded in making the impression that he ultimately sought. Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for providing an advanced ecopy. Book publishes Oct. 24, 2017
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  • Reading in Black & White
    January 1, 1970
    "The lengths we went to as a society to crush someone of such modest ambitions - Garner's big dream was to someday sit down at work - were awesome to contemplate. What happened to Garner spoke to the increasing desperation of white America to avoid having to even see, much less speak or live alongside, people like him. Half a century after the civil rights movement, white America does not want to know this man. They don't want him walking in their neighborhoods. They want him moved off the corne "The lengths we went to as a society to crush someone of such modest ambitions - Garner's big dream was to someday sit down at work - were awesome to contemplate. What happened to Garner spoke to the increasing desperation of white America to avoid having to even see, much less speak or live alongside, people like him. Half a century after the civil rights movement, white America does not want to know this man. They don't want him walking in their neighborhoods. They want him moved off the corner. Even white liberals seem to, deep down inside, if the policies they advocate and the individual choices they make are any indication."This book was a whole lot to process. I went in thinking it was primarily going to be about Eric Garner and the events leading up to his death, but it went much deeper than that. It's evident we have a problem in this country, and Taibbi does an excellent job at putting his journalism skills on display by examining the NYPD. This book was frustrating, sad, fascinating and enlightening all in one. Full review to come. 5 stars
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Matt Taibbi has always struck me as someone I would probably not be able to stand in person. He always came across arrogant and self-absorbed, a real “dudebro” type. His writing has always been hit or miss for me, usually a miss when he injects too much of himself into the story he’s writing. I requested an advanced copy of this book because of the subject matter without paying attention to who wrote it at the time. The Eric Garner killing and the subsequent “investigation” (I use the word loose Matt Taibbi has always struck me as someone I would probably not be able to stand in person. He always came across arrogant and self-absorbed, a real “dudebro” type. His writing has always been hit or miss for me, usually a miss when he injects too much of himself into the story he’s writing. I requested an advanced copy of this book because of the subject matter without paying attention to who wrote it at the time. The Eric Garner killing and the subsequent “investigation” (I use the word loosely) into it are important to the current state of our country and are indicative of the ongoing racial problems and police brutality we deal with on a daily basis. That said, I thought I could work around Taibbi’s presence and dig into the book. Over the last couple of days, news has surfaced about Taibbi’s personal behavior and his own confessions and admissions of misogyny, sexual harassment, and his dismissal, acceptance, and encouragement of rape. He and his co-author admit to such in their book, The Exile, about their time in Russia. Details can be found here. Please be warned that the language at the link can be extremely triggering. So I’m left torn here. I read this book long before I was aware of the attitudes and behavior of Taibbi. The book was well-written and informative. It covers important information on the case, the entire culture surrounding the NYPD, and much more. I can’t, however, write a review praising a book and encouraging anyone to support an author that not only encourages the behavior he has, but brags about his own involvement in sexual harassment and assault. I’m sure there are or will be many other books written about Garner and the hundreds of others killed by police throughout the country. Buy literally anyone else’s. I’m removing the original star rating on this book and will leave it unrated here on Goodreads. I would hope that his publisher, agent, and employer would reconsider their relationship with someone who so gleefully exhibits the horrific behavior he's admitted to.
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  • Christina Dudley
    January 1, 1970
    I think I was about the only person on earth who had never heard about Eric Garner and his death at the hands of Staten Island police, so this book was more than eye-opening. When author Taibbi opened with a swipe at Rudy Giuliani, I thought, "Oh no, here we go--this might be just political venting," but it absolutely wasn't.Taibbi builds a solid case for how the "Broken Windows" philosophy (most famously described by Malcolm Gladwell) of cracking down on the little things to prevent bigger crim I think I was about the only person on earth who had never heard about Eric Garner and his death at the hands of Staten Island police, so this book was more than eye-opening. When author Taibbi opened with a swipe at Rudy Giuliani, I thought, "Oh no, here we go--this might be just political venting," but it absolutely wasn't.Taibbi builds a solid case for how the "Broken Windows" philosophy (most famously described by Malcolm Gladwell) of cracking down on the little things to prevent bigger crimes has led to major and continual violations by police of people's constitutional rights. Not that anyone needed a policy to hide behind, judging by the many cases Taibbi recounts of ordinary (non-white) people suffering ridiculous persecution, handling, and trumped-up charges over decades, all over the country.Yes, corrupt policemen and politicians come out looking awful in this book, and it's not like their victims are innocent do-gooders (in most cases), but Taibbi makes us look hard at the race ideas we ordinary citizens perpetuate. And our laws have to be made to protect the unpowerful and unpopular or there isn't much point to them. Rich, educated, privileged people don't take as many knocks to begin with, and when they do get themselves in trouble with the law, they never get treated as badly.Of course there are good policemen--this book is not a knock against them. But there are bad policies, which encourage some bad behavior, especially in those who might already lean that direction.My review makes it sound like the book comes at the Eric Garner case from the 10,000-foot level, but that isn't so at all. One of the strengths of the book is the personal testimony and different perspectives it takes from those involved who would talk to Taibbi. He manages to make Eric Garner a person, not just another sorry case or statistic.Very worth the read.
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  • Venky
    January 1, 1970
    Matt Taibbi has penned an essential, excoriating and evocative work that can be considered to be a pioneering effort in the realm of Social Sciences. On the 17th of July 2014, forty four year old Eric Garner was put in a choke-hold (a maneuver deemed to be illegal by the Police Department decades ago), by an officer of the New York Police Department, Daniel Pantaleo. After Pantaleo removed his arm from Garner's neck, he pushed the side of Garner's face into the ground while four officers moved t Matt Taibbi has penned an essential, excoriating and evocative work that can be considered to be a pioneering effort in the realm of Social Sciences. On the 17th of July 2014, forty four year old Eric Garner was put in a choke-hold (a maneuver deemed to be illegal by the Police Department decades ago), by an officer of the New York Police Department, Daniel Pantaleo. After Pantaleo removed his arm from Garner's neck, he pushed the side of Garner's face into the ground while four officers moved to restrain Garner, who repeated "I can't breathe" eleven times while lying facedown on the sidewalk. Garner remained lying on the sidewalk for seven minutes while the officers waited for an ambulance to arrive. The EMTs did not perform CPR on Garner at the scene. He was pronounced dead at the hospital approximately one hour later. Garner's crime: "suspicious of selling 'loosies' (loose cigarettes) from packets bereft of tax stamps". But did Garner's crime predominantly reflected the fact that he was also black?Matt Taibbi takes on this crucial question in this riveting and fascinating book that deals with urgent but seemingly intractable issues such as racial profiling, police brutality and intransigence of policy makers and legislators alike in redressing a situation that is swiftly taking on grave proportions thereby polarising the American society. Although focusing on the Garner case, Taibbi sketches out the evolution of radical, draconian and antediluvian police policies such as 'Broken Windows' and 'Clean Halls', the outcome of which resulted in dire, incredulous and selective violations of privacy, dignity and self esteem of people whose sole crime lay in the fact of their dwelling in a particular neighbourhood and most importantly, in the targeted individuals being black. Stop-and-Frisk measures which gave unencumbered and unwarranted (no pun intended) powers to the police, had cops stripping random individuals in full glare of the public, violating their person by subjecting them to humiliating cavity searches and desecrating their very self esteem. This dastardly act was soon termed by the affected individuals as an exercise in "social raping". As Taibbi quoting a convict turned coloured cop Pedro Serrano, emphasises, "The streets may seem free and public, but they don't belong to you. You walk down them at someone else's pleasure, with someone else's permission". The language some of the cops used did nothing to sugar coat an outlook dripping with racism. Upon sighting blacks in a neighbourhood that was under police surveillance, they would exclaim, “Look at these fuckin’ animals. Look at these savages.”Matt Taibbi also demonstrates in heart wrenching and rage inducing detail, the chicanery and deviousness resorted to by the policy mavens and law makers alike to deny justice to the oppressed and obfuscating every move made by public interest groups such as NYCLU, Legal Aid and NAACP to fight for the truth. Making liberal use of legal loopholes and taking advantage of stray incidents of violence perpetrated against cops, the city administration builds up a powerful construct of lies, bureaucracy and brazen bias to thwart the attempts made by either the affected or the family (where the deceased has been a victim of police brutality and misdemeanor) to bring the culprits to book. Extraneous influences also adds to the impression that the need of the hour is for more and not less policing the streets. For example, the extraordinarily over rated Malcom Gladwell in his bestselling ‘Tipping Point’, tried to make America believe that “making little changes in an environment can bring about big results and you can fight crime the same way you start a fashion trend.” These kinds of endorsements not only made policies such as Broken Windows merely popular but a household rage. In fact as early as 1996, the Special Crime Unit (“SCU”) of the NYPD has printed T-shirts adorned by the following quote by Hemingway:“THERE IS NO HUNTING LIKE THE HUNTING OF MAN. AND THOSE WHO HAVE HUNTED ARMED MEN LONG ENOUGH AND LIKED IT, NEVER CARE FOR ANYTHING ELSE THEREAFTER”As Matt Taibbi chillingly demonstrates, the Eric Garner case is just one in a long litter of litany that has at its frontispiece the utter dereliction of duty and a shameful disregard for the value of life. As the victims, so the prosecutors. As defenseless the victims, as indifferent the laws and lawmakers. As Taibbi points out “from Powell to Sayon to Garner, from Hogan to Murphy to Donovan, very little in these stories have changed except the names.”While the family of Eric Garner, after a prolonged and exhausting joust with the law, gave in to fatigue and a consequent settlement of US$5 million, the black population continues to take water in the form of racial persecution and dog-whistle pretensions at equality. In the words of Taibbi, “half a century after the civil rights movement, white Americans do not want to know this man. They do not want him walking in their neighbourhoods. They want him moved off the corner. Even white liberals seen to, deep down inside, if the policies they advocate, and the individual choices they make are any indication.”Eric Garner’s ebullience and egregious nature became too much of an eyesore for the elitist occupants of high rise condominiums just across the street from where his overwhelming personality was a permanent fixture, although not even a tad bit damaging. But as Taibbi concludes “even allowing him a few feet of sidewalk space was ultimately too much. His world got smaller and smaller until finally even his last breath of air was taken away from him. He was finally deemed greedy for wanting even that much.”With the election of the incendiary, pompous, intimidating caricature of a brute to the highest office, it is with trepidation that a part of America goes about its livelihood. Walls, physical, symbolic as well as metaphorical are cleaving the population of an economy measures superiority in purely monetary terms and racial overtones. Overtones which mean that even in a century highlighted by unimaginable progress in technology, science and the arts, being born of a particular colour is still considered to be a debilitating curse!
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  • Glady
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free ARC from Net Galley in exchange for an impartial review.So I finished I Can't Breathe a few days ago but found that I just couldn't write a review. I needed time to ponder, to examine my own tightly-held views, and to grieve. In my lily white world there are no Eric Garners, no police/legal extremism, no gut-wrenching fear of authorities. As the daughter and granddaughter of policemen, I defaulted to the idea that the men and women dressed in police uniforms were the quiet hero I received a free ARC from Net Galley in exchange for an impartial review.So I finished I Can't Breathe a few days ago but found that I just couldn't write a review. I needed time to ponder, to examine my own tightly-held views, and to grieve. In my lily white world there are no Eric Garners, no police/legal extremism, no gut-wrenching fear of authorities. As the daughter and granddaughter of policemen, I defaulted to the idea that the men and women dressed in police uniforms were the quiet heroes of our society, ready to give their lives but more often serving as a calming presence in the face of unexpected chaos.Matt Taibbi investigates the death of Eric Garner at the hands of NYC police officers by examining the rationale for big city policies like "Stop and Frisk" and "Broken Windows." For most of America, these policies seem logical. Who could possibly deride the idea of police stopping people who are acting inappropriately or the concept that appearances (broken windows) encourage further disintegration of physical assets? And that living surrounded by decayed physical assets can lead to the withdrawal of social personal responsibility? Tom Selleck's Blue Bloods Police Commissioner presents these policies as valid law enforcement techniques. Taibbi, however, clearly proves the inequities of the enforcement of these policies and how enforcement statistics can easily become more important than the realities of people's daily lives. Taibbi's analysis shows that, under police guidelines, being a person of color is enough of a reason for police to stop and not only frisk but also publicly strip search an individual. Inevitably, some individuals resist and the legal system is then overrun by cases where individuals, mostly black, are charged with resisting arrest or assault of a police officer. Fines and jail time ensue but the original cause for police action is more racial harassment than legal investigation.The video of Eric Garner's death made the national news for weeks - an obese black man restrained by white police officers and his last gasping words, "I Can't Breathe." His death-on-video competed with other news stories and videos of unarmed black men killed by police officers and neighborhood watchmen. Garner certainly had a long history of arrests and he did make a living selling illegal non-taxed cigarettes, but one must question the validity of many arrests based on the "Stop and Frisk" policy. Taibbi never shies away from Garner's illegal behaviors but he does manage to present Garner as a flawed, family man with limited skills and options but a kind heart and gentle nature. Yes, Garner's health had been compromised by a lifetime of poor habits but many of those habits were founded in self-sacrifice related to his desire to provide for his children. The real power of Taibbi's work, however, is how he manages to honestly highlight Garner's flaws while never sliding into the easy (and rather popular) premise that somehow Garner was responsible for his own death. He forces readers (okay, I mean me) to examine their own innate prejudices that have been honed through a lifetime of privilege. Furthermore, Taibbi places the death of Eric Garner on the American cultural timeline - from the 60s civil rights movement through the election of Donald Trump. Positive long-overdue societal actions are unconsciously viewed as threatening cultural shifts; fear results in protectionism. At the core, however, are the racist attitudes of privilege hidden behind polite smiles and the simplistic belief held by many that skin color no longer limits anyone who really wants to succeed. Law enforcement with its policies and cover-up of misdeeds; the tangled legal system that treats people like cogs in a machine; and the omnipresent political wannabes do not represent the best of America But, knowledge of systemic inequity is just the first step. Accepting our shared responsibility and demanding action of others and more importantly of ourselves must be our new normal. At the beginning of this review I wrote that I needed time to ponder and to grieve. I would like to think that the death of Eric Garner was an aberration; I know it was not.
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  • Cherie
    January 1, 1970
    ***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS BUT PROBABLY NOT ANYTHING YOU WOULDN'T ALREADY KNOW***I won this book on a Good Reads giveaway through Random House for my honest opinion.However, I took my time reading (over a month) due to highlighting parts and bending corners of the book, watching the videos on YouTube etc. So I finished it last night and ready to write a review.First, I like to comment the Author on a great, interesting, well written book. I tend to agree on a lot of his opinions which I will put in ***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS BUT PROBABLY NOT ANYTHING YOU WOULDN'T ALREADY KNOW***I won this book on a Good Reads giveaway through Random House for my honest opinion.However, I took my time reading (over a month) due to highlighting parts and bending corners of the book, watching the videos on YouTube etc. So I finished it last night and ready to write a review.First, I like to comment the Author on a great, interesting, well written book. I tend to agree on a lot of his opinions which I will put into the rest of the body of this review. I'm not a political book reader at all, I get lost easily in politics, however this Author made it easy to understand. After reading this I looked up the Author's other books and I'm thinking about trying, Smells Like Dead Elephants and The Divide. Second, the review in my own opinion, unless stated otherwise.after watching Cops for years and now Live PD you get a understanding of the law in different states. You get to know what kind of people give cops a hard time and which ones don't, which ones run and which ones don't (yes, black and white) being majorly black due to having a gun and/or drugs as shown on the above shows, not my opinion but being recorded on above shows. Also a big presents is the riots after a police officer is not arrested, enough to cancel schools, close businesses, stop traffic on highways, National Guard, destroy your own hometown, that's just stupid over one cop at a time.There are good cops and bad cops, in Chapter Fifteen, there is a reference to a video about Robert Lewis Dear who shot five cops and killed one but since he was white "there wasn't a mark on his face," well maybe those were probably good cops. The bad ones unfortunately kill and then that's when they are exposed, in reality, they should of been fired from all the complaints against them in the first place. I mean that would of been easier than shoveling out millions of dollars to families that now have to live without a family member that they loved and may have been totally independent on. I feel bad and appalled for murdered officers Liu and Ramos, the Dallas cop shootings and the families of each black man that was shot by crooked cops, I don't feel bad for the cops who shot each of these men and agree they should be in prison. Daniel Pantaleo had problems before the Garner incident as stated in the Epilogue.Third, Eric Garner.Yes, he repeatedly broke the law and resisted arrest according to the book. Mr. Garner's family should not have been awarded money because he broke the law and resisted arrest as per the Mayor's Office. Mr. Garner's family was awarded a settlement because a crooked cop killed him (my opinion). I feel bad for Ramsey Orta for the hell he is going through for making the video but that would of been a he said/she said situation without video evidence, with the cop coming out on top (of course). On the video, Ramsey said "police beating up on people." In no way did I see him "beat up." I did not know Mr. Garner had a serious crime of violence in his background as to a beating of a neighbor that left his home looking like a crime scene (according to this book). This man didn't need to die, he was not street trash, he worked hard for his family.The Author said, he found himself asking about Garner the person as the policy issues faded from mind and like the Author I found I liked Mr. Garner too. Mr. Garner didn't sound like a selfish man, same clothes, same shoes, old vehicle. When he could be with his family, he was. He was loved by family and friends. He is truly missed. Thank you Good Reads, Random House and Matt TaibbiCherie
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  • R.Z.
    January 1, 1970
    Author Matt Taibbi gives a detailed account of the choke-hold murder of black man Eric Garner on Staten Island NY by white policeman Daniel Pantaleo. Taibbi is telling the story from the victim's, and his family's point of view, and so the police, the lawyers, and the politicians come off as seeming very unsympathetic characters to say the least. But we must remember that what we are looking at is a complicated entanglement of persons who have developed their own entrenched view of "others" and Author Matt Taibbi gives a detailed account of the choke-hold murder of black man Eric Garner on Staten Island NY by white policeman Daniel Pantaleo. Taibbi is telling the story from the victim's, and his family's point of view, and so the police, the lawyers, and the politicians come off as seeming very unsympathetic characters to say the least. But we must remember that what we are looking at is a complicated entanglement of persons who have developed their own entrenched view of "others" and leave little room for understanding of another's situation. Eric Garner was an overweight diabetic with a chronically runny nose, swollen feet, and a scruffy appearance. He was also a dedicated family man who loved his children and provided for them in the only way he could. He didn't like dealing drugs, so he developed a street business of selling illicit cigarettes by the carton, the pack, or single smokes which were popular with commuters rushing by on their way to the train. He was an easy target for police wanting an easy arrest, and he was arrested often. On his last day when Pantaleo shoved him down on the sidewalk in a choke-hold, Garner was not well. He was tired, and wanted to quit the street life. As he lay face down, he said to the police, "I can't breathe," but they paid no attention until he stopped breathing. The video by Ramsey Orta of the killing went viral and changed the course not only of the investigation, but also of Orta's life.Garner had been well-liked by his friends on the street, and loved by his family members. They wanted justice for him and did all they could through the legal system to obtain it, but had doors shut in their faces again and again. People began to forget the case of Eric Garner as other killings of black men became prominent in the news. One person refused to forget, did not move on as others did, and that was Garner's daughter Erica. This is a sad, sad story that needed to be told, but Taibbi is not dispassionate as he tells it, and that is perhaps the only flaw in the telling. If I compare this to Ghettoside: a True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy, I find Ghettoside more memorable because it was told just as she found it, personal biases hidden.
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  • Philip Bailey
    January 1, 1970
    A look inside some of the incidents of law enforcement officers killing people of color. By people of color I mean mostly black people, and some brown people. Many of these incidents have been televised but at times I think the general populace has become inured to these occurrences. Must be the times, and the attitudes, even from the top down. Agree or disagree but some of these have been outright murder, with no justification, and in some cases the responsible police officers have been held ac A look inside some of the incidents of law enforcement officers killing people of color. By people of color I mean mostly black people, and some brown people. Many of these incidents have been televised but at times I think the general populace has become inured to these occurrences. Must be the times, and the attitudes, even from the top down. Agree or disagree but some of these have been outright murder, with no justification, and in some cases the responsible police officers have been held accountable. Some may have had some justification, or at least been trumped up to seem so. And it is likely some were righteous self-defense, or at least no other plausible outcome. This is not just a rehash of past cases as seen by the public but also a look at the relatives and loved ones who suffered the loss. It is also a look inside the politics of the law enforcement agencies, and the justice system. It is natural for a supervisor to defend the workers assigned and for a person’s peers to quickly pounce to the defense. Some of the incidents in this story defy common sense, but that also seems to be a bit of a plague in our current times. While the author does a bit of postulating, as do we all, there are many valid issues brought to light. While many of these incidents are of recent memory, those of us who have been around for a while will also recall some of the more distant past incidents. My curiosity as to the author’s method focuses on the reference to many movies, a person or an episode reminiscent of a scene from some box office nugget, or an HBO series. As a reader, I do not watch movies, or HBO shows. I read, thus the author’s references were meaningless to me
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  • Bernard O'Leary
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliant, brutal, essential book for life in 2017. It's the story of Eric Garner, a cigarette bootlegger who was choked to death in public by NYPD in 2014, but Taibbi's scope is much broader than that. It's structured like an episode of Law & Order, with the first part looking at the crime and the second dealing with the legal aftermath. Part one is a biography of Eric Garner and a study of the community around him. Staten Island is effectively segregated with a police force that sometime A brilliant, brutal, essential book for life in 2017. It's the story of Eric Garner, a cigarette bootlegger who was choked to death in public by NYPD in 2014, but Taibbi's scope is much broader than that. It's structured like an episode of Law & Order, with the first part looking at the crime and the second dealing with the legal aftermath. Part one is a biography of Eric Garner and a study of the community around him. Staten Island is effectively segregated with a police force that sometimes seems like an occupying army, and the people of colour in the south part of the island pretty much expect to spend some time inside. Garner, who married and became a stepdad young, tried his hand dealing crack but sucked at it, and eventually turned to selling cigarettes illegally imported from Virgina. The mundane nature of police violence in south Staten Island is numbing. It's a place where you can be hauled from your car and beaten, or subjected to a full strip search in the middle of the street, or have the money in your pocket taken as evidence and then mysteriously lost on its way to the station. Garner decided he had enough one day and stood up to an officer who accused him of cigarettes when he clearly hadn't been (he had just broken up a fight). Wrong place, wrong time, wrong cop, and an hour later, Eric Garner was dead. The case was a global sensation and then forgotten when the next atrocity occurred, but that doesn't mean it was over. In fact, the second part of this book is incomplete as so many threads are still awaiting their conclusion: the cop who killed Garner is still on police payroll, and the files from the bizarre grand jury are still sealed.This second part mostly focuses on Erica, Garner's daughter who continues to push for justice. It reads like a tragic, gruesome version of The Bonfire of the Vanities, with the upper tiers of New York life all trying to manipulate this case to their political advantage and forgetting about the dead black body at the heart of it. For Taibbi, the cause of death goes beyond corruption in New York. "Eric Garner was killed by history," he says, having examined the nature of 21st century segregation. Cops are not necessarily racist or brutal, he reckons, but they are employed by a system that works to keep whites and non-whites separated, and assumes that anyone who isn't white is inherently lawless. There's no point in blaming the cops. It's America that's rotten. And it has elected a president that is determined to keep it that way.
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    The book is riveting. It begins with Eric Garner, a man living with the wrong skin color in the wrong country at the wrong time. Taibbi introduces us to Garner and his family carefully and completely. We meet relatives and generations; we see striving and long-term efforts and yes, failures. But in this long view what we really see is that this is a country that grinds down the hopes of people of color, one way or another. Their aspirations are either slowly taken away or they are blatantly depr The book is riveting. It begins with Eric Garner, a man living with the wrong skin color in the wrong country at the wrong time. Taibbi introduces us to Garner and his family carefully and completely. We meet relatives and generations; we see striving and long-term efforts and yes, failures. But in this long view what we really see is that this is a country that grinds down the hopes of people of color, one way or another. Their aspirations are either slowly taken away or they are blatantly deprived and either way, it's a sucker punch. So on the day in question when Garner is jumped by a bunch of police and the whole incident is recorded by a bystander, including the question about offering him CPR which is denied, and it is all basically for no reason except that he is black, maybe there is no question. The action is a reminder of everything that has always happened. As Taibbi reminds us this is a recurring historical pattern. This is how African Americans have been killed for centuries; cell phones have only made it more apparent. Now we cannot pretend we did not know. Now we all know what happened, even if a corrupt court in NJ never brought the cop in question to trial.Even the legal system in NJ followed procedures that were decades old and Jim Crow in origin. Always the same old story when keeping men of color in line. In this book, it is painfully hard to believe that the arc of history bends towards justice. It is all of our freedom that is corrupted and tainted when an outrage like this occurs. Not just Eric Garner died that night; our justice system took a mortal blow, too. The author wrote a book hoping to galvanize a sleeping audience before it is too late. Don't wait to read the book.
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  • Warren Benton
    January 1, 1970
    Eric Garner was huge in the news. Most have probably seen the cell phone footage of cops taking down the big man as he said: “I Can’t breathe, I can’t breathe”. Taibbi uses his journalistic skills to try to paint a picture of not only who Garner was but the overall feel of New York and the police tactics leading up to the incident.Garner didn’t have an easy life. He turned to drug dealing for a while to make things work. When Bloomberg raised the cigarette tax in New York Garner switched from se Eric Garner was huge in the news. Most have probably seen the cell phone footage of cops taking down the big man as he said: “I Can’t breathe, I can’t breathe”. Taibbi uses his journalistic skills to try to paint a picture of not only who Garner was but the overall feel of New York and the police tactics leading up to the incident.Garner didn’t have an easy life. He turned to drug dealing for a while to make things work. When Bloomberg raised the cigarette tax in New York Garner switched from seeing drugs to selling smokes. He would get busted all the time with packs on him and the police would take not only all the cigarettes he had on him but the money he had made. On the day that Garner died he actually wasn’t selling. He was around but had just broken up a fight and was in no mood to be harassed by the cops for selling loosies when he wasn’t actually selling that day.Throughout this book, Taibbi interview’s various family members, including Garner’s wife, girlfriend, and daughter Erica (who is said to be very much like her father in stubbornness). This is not a happy story. This book discusses how the judicial system let down the Garner family because Officer Daniel Pantaleo had many complaints against him and should have been reprimanded before the arresting chokehold he put on Eric Garner.Taibbi closes the book discussing how race relations have not improved. He discusses how Trump came in with rhetoric that was not meant to build bridges but one that was to set the Whites apart in a more a position of power. Taibbi worries about the policing methods will not look to fix problems but will look more to keep people down.
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  • John Spiller
    January 1, 1970
    Near the end of "I Can't Breathe," Matt Taibbi describes in some detail a hearing conducted to determine whether to release the record of the evidence presented to the grand jury who ultimately decided not to indict any of the police officers involved in the death of Eric Garner. Several attorneys representing different organizations argued in granular detail why they had a particularized need for this material to be disclosed. The final attorney, James Myerson, representing the NAACP, took a di Near the end of "I Can't Breathe," Matt Taibbi describes in some detail a hearing conducted to determine whether to release the record of the evidence presented to the grand jury who ultimately decided not to indict any of the police officers involved in the death of Eric Garner. Several attorneys representing different organizations argued in granular detail why they had a particularized need for this material to be disclosed. The final attorney, James Myerson, representing the NAACP, took a different tack. He argued that the evidence should be disclosed because the failure to indict anyone reinforced the belief that the system is rigged. "The system is rigged" is a theme that Taibbi explored in a previous book, "The Great Divide". In "I Can't Breathe," Taibbi examines a particular form of selected enforcement of criminal laws embodied in the "broken windows" approach to policing. Taibbi effectively argues that this form of policing inevitably leads to the types of confrontations such as what ultimately killed Eric Garner. While Taibbi has a scathing wit, he is fairly restrained here. He lets the facts the do the skewering. And very few are spared. Indeed, Taibbi portrays liberal Mayor Bill DeBlasio as a hapless stumblebum who seemingly makes matters worse. While I doubt "I Can't Breathe" will win converts against "broken windows" policing, it provides a fairly succinct and accessible brief against it.
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  • Justin
    January 1, 1970
    We know the story- On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was surrounded by police for selling "loosies" (loose cigarettes). When he questions why he is being arrested, he attempts to walk away, when he is wrestled to the ground in a chokehold. As he is dying, he repeats the phrase- "I can't breathe" over and over again, until he dies. The police officer continued to hold him until he died. There was no indictment, but only an internal investigation. It was settled out of court for $5 million.This book l We know the story- On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was surrounded by police for selling "loosies" (loose cigarettes). When he questions why he is being arrested, he attempts to walk away, when he is wrestled to the ground in a chokehold. As he is dying, he repeats the phrase- "I can't breathe" over and over again, until he dies. The police officer continued to hold him until he died. There was no indictment, but only an internal investigation. It was settled out of court for $5 million.This book looks at the incident from all sorts of angles- what was happening at the time leading up to the death, what were the policing policies in place at the time, why was this hold used, etc. Taibbi talks to people that know Garner, people in similar situations, and proves a full account of that day.I will admit I was a bit hesitant requesting this as a galley. The hesitancy came from the question- can a white guy tell a black man's story and do it well? Taibbi didn't have the experiences that Garner had and even though Taibbi is an incredible journalist, I wondered if the story could be told with justice.After reading it, I can say, absolutely yes Taibbi did a fantastic job. While other authors touch upon Garner and lift up similar issues- such as Guiliani's crack down on crime, the rise of loosie's, etc, having that information all in one place was a big help. It led to a fuller story and Taibbi goes into Garner's life a bit more than some other authors do.This was a tragic read, but a well researched and complete narrative. I am glad I read it.I gave it 4.5 stars.*I want to thank NetGalley for the advanced copy. I received it in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    I can't recommend this book highly enough. I love Matt Taibbi, so admit to a preconceived bias toward this book. And I thought I was familiar with the sad story of Freddie Gray, the African-American man shot as he was selling "loosies" (single cigarettes) in New York. But I realize I knew SO LITTLE of the real story. For starters, Freddie was not a large, shambling doofus as he was often portrayed. He was incredibly intelligent, and a hard worker. And I have read some books about the serious iss I can't recommend this book highly enough. I love Matt Taibbi, so admit to a preconceived bias toward this book. And I thought I was familiar with the sad story of Freddie Gray, the African-American man shot as he was selling "loosies" (single cigarettes) in New York. But I realize I knew SO LITTLE of the real story. For starters, Freddie was not a large, shambling doofus as he was often portrayed. He was incredibly intelligent, and a hard worker. And I have read some books about the serious issues in law enforcement in the U.S., particularly as pertains to African-Amercians. But I had not read anything that was so well written in terms that are easily understandable. It's just a huge accomplishment the way Mr Taibbi has told Freddie's story along with informing the reader about the realities of the justice system -- which, for too many Americans, particularly those of color, is better referred to as the "justice" system. Shocking, sad, needs to be widely read. Five gigantic stars.
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  • Falbs
    January 1, 1970
    Hard to read during the Trump era. I really loved the way Taibbi told not only the story of Garner's death, but the story of the institutionalized effort to keep the cop who killed him (Daniel Pantaleo) and the racist policies that led to his attempted arrest in the first place. It's a terribly depressing story. I think I've grown used to having things work out for the best in the stories I read (mostly science-fiction) and so it was tough to read a true story that seems to fall apart as every s Hard to read during the Trump era. I really loved the way Taibbi told not only the story of Garner's death, but the story of the institutionalized effort to keep the cop who killed him (Daniel Pantaleo) and the racist policies that led to his attempted arrest in the first place. It's a terribly depressing story. I think I've grown used to having things work out for the best in the stories I read (mostly science-fiction) and so it was tough to read a true story that seems to fall apart as every small shred of hope for justice is shredded by the 'system'. There just aren't enough people looking at the bigger picture to bust through the status quo as it has come to be. And certainly not enough impetus for meaningful change. It's tough to be an American in this day and age. And impossible to be proud of it.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This book dives deep into the life and death of Eric Garner. It also discusses police brutality, systematic racism and the post death legal issues Eric Garner's family had to endure to attempt to get justice. This book is devastating and enraging. There is so much wrong with our "justice" system and we need honest people instead of people who refuse to admit that "their side" never does anything wrong. The only thing I didn't like about this book is the language Taibbi would use sometimes to des This book dives deep into the life and death of Eric Garner. It also discusses police brutality, systematic racism and the post death legal issues Eric Garner's family had to endure to attempt to get justice. This book is devastating and enraging. There is so much wrong with our "justice" system and we need honest people instead of people who refuse to admit that "their side" never does anything wrong. The only thing I didn't like about this book is the language Taibbi would use sometimes to describe people or events. It was a little biased or inflammatory. But I think everyone should read this book.I was provided a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
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  • Mary Kay
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing. The story of Eric Garner's killing by police chokehold in 2014, an event that fueled the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement. Taibbi exposes the enormous injustices in our justice system, and frames Garner's experience and his family's fight for justice in the context of the current political climate. He illustrates how the "Broken Windows" theory around law and order in urban areas vilifies people of color and gives police cart blanche to harass, strip-search, and impose violence on Amazing. The story of Eric Garner's killing by police chokehold in 2014, an event that fueled the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement. Taibbi exposes the enormous injustices in our justice system, and frames Garner's experience and his family's fight for justice in the context of the current political climate. He illustrates how the "Broken Windows" theory around law and order in urban areas vilifies people of color and gives police cart blanche to harass, strip-search, and impose violence on them for pretty much any reason at all, without repercussion. I found this book eye-opening and frustrating at the same time. I will recommend it to anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of how the Black Lives Matter movement started, and anyone interested in context around our rage-filled political climate. Five stars. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    This powerful journalistic work of the progression of policing in neighborhoods with a vulnerable population was eye opening. It covers the life and death of Eric Garner, a man that made mistakes out of his desperation to provide for his family, and ultimately became a target of an overly agressive police policy.Hopefully, even with all the current distractions this will help reignite everyone for a more fair society in the age of mass incarceration.Thank you to the publisher for providing me wi This powerful journalistic work of the progression of policing in neighborhoods with a vulnerable population was eye opening. It covers the life and death of Eric Garner, a man that made mistakes out of his desperation to provide for his family, and ultimately became a target of an overly agressive police policy.Hopefully, even with all the current distractions this will help reignite everyone for a more fair society in the age of mass incarceration.Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an arc available through netgalley and thank you to Matt Taibbi for making this more than just an article.
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  • Megan Schwab
    January 1, 1970
    As a resident of the tri-state area, we had a front row, 24/7 view into the Eric Garner case. "I can't breathe" became a buzzword and spawned the Black Life Matters movement. But what we didn't see was the human side of the victim. Garner was merely the face of the headline. Taibbi gives an insight into the life of Garner, and shows that while he wasn't an innocent bystander, he was still a victim of police brutality. He delves into the criminal justice system and illustrates the flaws that mak As a resident of the tri-state area, we had a front row, 24/7 view into the Eric Garner case. "I can't breathe" became a buzzword and spawned the Black Life Matters movement. But what we didn't see was the human side of the victim. Garner was merely the face of the headline. Taibbi gives an insight into the life of Garner, and shows that while he wasn't an innocent bystander, he was still a victim of police brutality. He delves into the criminal justice system and illustrates the flaws that make it hard for people of color to get a fair shake. The book exposes the racial divide and gives insight into the controversial Stop & Frisk policy of the NYPD.
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  • Henry Patino
    January 1, 1970
    This book succeeds in telling the story of who Eric Garner was as a person while at the same time setting forth the context and history of his killing. It is well written and explains many of the legal details such as the grand jury investigation.It is a page turner with vivid descriptions of Gamer's family and the lawyers and politicians who control the subsequent events. I hope it is widely read because too often we simply move from one tragic story to the next without understanding the why. E This book succeeds in telling the story of who Eric Garner was as a person while at the same time setting forth the context and history of his killing. It is well written and explains many of the legal details such as the grand jury investigation.It is a page turner with vivid descriptions of Gamer's family and the lawyers and politicians who control the subsequent events. I hope it is widely read because too often we simply move from one tragic story to the next without understanding the why. Eric Garner was literally squeezed into a smaller and smaller space and then even denied the ability to breathe.
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  • Rhonda Lomazow
    January 1, 1970
    Matt Taibbi has written a brillant book of investigative journalism.Eric Garner died at the hands of the police he was put in a chockhold he was tackled for illegally selling single cigarettes.Erics last words I Can't Breathe.Matt shows us the real person Eric was his neighborhood his family his life.No he wasn't a saint he wasn't perfect but he didn't deserve this horrific death Thanks to Netgalley&Random house for advance copy,
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  • Vivek
    January 1, 1970
    a brief history of race and policing, through the lens of New York and the Eric Garner case. Really excellent -- would expect nothing less from Taibbi, but this is a bit outside his usual area of focus (eat the rich).
  • John L Kane
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book I wish everyone would read. It is an important work that left me angry at the unfairness of life in modern America if you are not white.
  • Zs
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful write. Matt Taibbi takes you right to the scene and makes you feel the things thta are happening.Gruesome subject, made my heart bleed and my eyes tear.
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