The death of Eric Garner at the hands of a white policeman in the United States in 2014 was the first death of a black man that was captured entirely on tape, and xxxx (was entirely preventable.) Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” spoken 11 times before he died in an illegal chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo, became a rallying cry for the then-nascent Black Lives Matter movement.

Garner and other unarmed black men who have died at the hands of white police officers have become powerful symbols representing the struggle against racism and police brutality in the US. The high profile shootings of black men like Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Walter Scott, to name a few, have also helped catapult the issue of police brutality into the American consciousness.

In his new book, “I Can’t Breathe,” journalist and author Matt Taibbi paints a picture of who Eric Garner was as a person, not just a victim of a broken criminal justice system, but as a father, son, and husband. Taibbi also focuses on the policies that created the conditions that allowed Garner to die and on the system that stymied justice for Garner’s family every step of the way.

Matt Taibbi joins The Stream to talk about his new book and the cultural and political impact of Garner’s life and death.   

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Matt Taibbi @mtaibbi
Author, I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street
rollingstone.com/contributor/matt-taibbi

Melina Abdullah @DocMellyMel
Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies, California State University - Los Angeles

Read more:  
If you're a black man, expect police brutality under U.S. law and policy - The Washington Post 
How a theory of crime and policing was born, and went terribly wrong - NPR

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.