“Justice delayed is justice denied,” the legal maxim holds, but what about justice dragged out and administered piecemeal, bureaucratized and monetized and extended well past the public’s capacity to maintain its righteous anger? What about justice delayed so long that it is no longer demanded?
This summer will mark five years since Eric Garner died after a New York City police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, put him in a chokehold while attempting to arrest him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. The strangling move was prohibited under NYPD rules. Garner was unarmed and begging for his life with a plea, “I can’t breathe!” that would become a rallying cry for the nascent Black Lives Matter movement.
“We know racism played a big part in our brother’s death and has played a role in denying us justice,” said the sister of Bayoh, on the fourth anniversary of his death in police custody.
Sheku Bayoh died while being restrained by police using batons, CS gas, pepper spray and restraints on his legs and arms
Family first demanded a public inquiry in 2018 after the Lord Advocate decided not to prosecute any of the officers involved
Both the family of Bayoh and their lawyer Aamer Anwar have argued that racism was a factor in Bayoh’s death, and that dishonest attempts have subsequently been made by police sources to smear his reputation
There’s an anecdote that Ruth Wilson Gilmore likes to share about being at an environmental-justice conference in Fresno in 2003. People from all over California’s Central Valley had gathered to talk about the serious environmental hazards their communities faced, mostly as a result of decades of industrial farming, conditions that still have not changed. (The air quality in the Central Valley is the worst in the nation, and one million of its residents drink tap water more poisoned than the water in Flint, Mich.)
There was a “youth track” at the conference, in which children were meant to talk about their worries and then decide as a group what was most important to be done in the name of environmental justice.