Another cop, this one from Indiana, has decided to reach out to the community and respond to the recent protests over the killing of Eric Garner by selling a T-shirt that reads “Breathe Easy: Don’t Break the Law.”
The phrase is apparently a play on the last wordsof Eric Garner, a New York man who died after he was placed in a chokehold by New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in July. Garner’s death was ruled a homicide, but a Dec. 3 grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo over the death. Protesters against the decision demonstrated across the country by adopting “I Can’t Breathe,” Garner’s last words, as a slogan.
Indiana cop and South Bend Uniform owner, Jason Barthel, adopted the slogan for his T-shirt, as well.
We are not here to do anything negative to the public. We’re here to protect the public and we want you to breathe easy knowing that the police are here to be with you and for you and protect you.
Barthel told WSBT that the shirts, which read “Breathe Easy: Don’t Break the Law,” were selling quickly.
On its Facebook page Monday night, South Bend Uniform addressed the backlash against the line of shirts with a post that read:
For those upset, please understand when we use the slogan ‘Breathe Easy’ we are referring to knowing the police are there for you
The police are here to protect and serve. 99.9% of us have the greater good in our hearts each time we strap on our uniforms and duty belts,” it added. “We are all one people and this is by no means is a slam on Eric Garner or his family, God rest his soul
Even if it was an innocent mistake, there are plenty of other ways he could’ve phrased that: “Rest Easy” or “Sleep Easy” or any variation there of — “Breathe Easy,” while an idiomic expression that does nail what they claim to have been after, is in horrible taste. And the cynical part of me believes that’s the intent.