Since Eric Garner’s killer, a police office was not indicted, there is a lot of material on the New York Times about his death. One of the pieces mentioned that he was swarmed by police, even though he was not armed, not resisting, and kept saying ‘I can’t breathe’, while in an illegal chokehold.
It brought me back to a time, maybe 15 or 20 years ago, when a new outdoor summer festival was being created here in Cincinnati, on Short Vine. There were two producers, one of whom asked me to do Tarot readings – but forget to tell his partner.
So I set up on the corner of Charlton (I think) where In Cahoots was at the time. I set up my table, set out my signs, and very soon folk were signing up for readings. So I sat down to do a reading, and was soon very immersed in it, focusing on the cards and listening to Spirit. Suddenly the table was bumped, which jolted me out of that space. I looked up and the table was surrounded by what looked like 7-foot tall police officers – lots of them – probably 6 or 7.
They were agressive, hostile, angry, threatening. Demanding that I stop right now and move on right now – as in Right Now! As though I had robbed a bank or beaten someone. I was just holding pieces of cardboard. But I was not moving quickly enough for these angry officers, who did not look particularly human. I was actually in shock, of course, as I realize now.
None of the officers ever apologized. Though both the producers did – the one who asked me to read, and the one who told the police to get me out of there.
One of my basic hypotheses – even before this episode – was that anyone who wants to be a police officer should not be allowed to be. We should hire instead people who like to help other people, not folk who see themselves as Dirty Harry.