Eric Garner’s Death Is Mourned, Big Government Is Blamed for Tragedy

“A Man Died over Cigarettes and Tax Revenue”

Washington, D.C. – As members of the Project 21 black leadership network mourn the regretful loss of Eric Garner’s life during a confrontation with New York City police officers, they see the root problem in government overreach.

Garner died at least in part from a chokehold administered by a police officer last July after he was accused of selling “loose” untaxed cigarettes outside a New York City storefront. On December 2, a grand jury did not indict the officer who put Garner in the apparently deadly hold. While most protesters are focused on the issue of police brutality, Project 21 members are looking at the bigger-picture problem of an increasingly powerful government which zealously enforces regulations so that even minor offenses can have deadly outcomes.

emmett_sm“A man died over cigarettes and tax revenue. Eric Garner died because of an all too powerful state,” said Project 21 member Shelby Emmett, an attorney and former congressional staffer. “We must ask ourselves what exactly we want the police enforcing with such deadly strength. These officers confronted Garner because he was selling single cigarettes and was thus depriving the government of revenue. He was not threatening anyone’s life, starting fires or even holding up traffic. He was not suspected of a violent crime, so such force should never have been justified. Any person concerned with individual liberty should be disgusted.”

arps_sm“The overregulated nanny state not only inconveniences our everyday lives, but — as we’ve now witnessed in New York City — it can even end up costing someone their life,” said Project 21 member Christopher Arps, a resident of St. Louis who was witness to both cycles of violence in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of Michael Brown. “I would never condone breaking the law, but it is inconceivable to me that a citizen can be put into a police chokehold and, despite repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe, be allowed to die over the crime of selling untaxed, loose cigarettes on the street.”

Besides government, violent cultural factors and unchecked crime within the black community are cited as factors in the death of Eric Garner.

innisn_sm“Black lives do matter, and Eric Garner should not have died for selling loose cigarettes. I agree with Al Sharpton and the racialist lobby that there is a crisis of black men losing their lives, but my harmony with them ends there because they tend to only mourn the loss of black lives taken by whites,” said Project 21 member Niger Innis, national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality and executive director of the TheTeaParty.Net. “The plague on young black men in urban centers is not white racists nor murderous cops because 93 percent of black men are killed by other black men. There are far too many black men raised in households that have no black male role models and the entertainment-industrial complex perpetuates a gangsta criminal chic. Until so-called civil rights leaders can openly and honestly address this problem, the plague will continue unabated. We need to target the real cause of the genocide of young black men.”

Project 21 members have been interviewed or cited by the media over 1,900 times in 2014 – including TVOne, Fox News Channel, CNN, the Philadelphia Inquirer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Orlando Sentinel, National Public Radio, Westwood One, SiriusXM satellite radio and the 50,000-watt radio stations WBZ-Boston, WHO-Des Moines, KDKA-Pittsburgh, KOA-Denver, WGN-Chicago and WJR-Detroit – on issues that include civil rights, entitlement programs, the economy, race preferences, education and corporate social responsibility. Project 21 has participated in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding race preferences and voting rights, defended voter ID laws at the United Nations and provided comment during the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown judicial proceedings. Its volunteer members come from all walks of life and are not salaried political professionals.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).

Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .

-30-



The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors.