‘I Can’t Breathe’ – Congressman’s tribute to Eric Garner

Wednesday night, a grand jury in New York City refused to indict police officers in the killing of Eric Garner, a man who died after officers used an illegal chokehold on him. The decision set off protests across the country.Some in Congress have already expressed their solidarity with Garner.

Hank Johnson, the sponsor of legislation to curb police militarization, made a moving tribute to Garner, including the phrase, “I can’t breathe” between each statement—the phrase  Eric Garner said as he was being strangled, and which has since become a rallying cry for protesters.

▶ WATCH: ‘I Can’t Breathe’ – Congressman’s Incredible Tribute to Eric Garner on House Floor – YouTube.

Here’s the full text of Johnson’s tribute:

“Black men and boys killed by police.

I can’t breathe.

Impunity for the killers—no justice, no peace.

I can’t breathe.

Militarized police met peaceful protesters on their knees.

I can’t breathe.

Weapons of war—a show of force on our streets.

I can’t breathe.

Disenfranchised youth driven to violence as speech.

I can’t breathe.

Cynical media think this makes great TV.

I can’t breathe.

This cowardly Congress afraid of losing our seats.

I can’t breathe.

Half-hearted reform when there’s more that we need.

I can’t breathe.

Just thinking about the despair that this breeds.

I can’t breathe.

Black lives matter. Hear my pleas.

I can’t breathe.

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