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WATCH: 'I Can't Breathe'—Congressman's Incredible Tribute to Eric Garner on House Floor

December 4, 2014 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

If Rep. Hank Johnson's performance does not move you, you may be made of stone.

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 a prohibited chokehold on him. The decision set off protests across the country.

Some in Congress have already expressed their solidarity with Garner and other victims of police brutality. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), the sponsor of legislation to curb police militarization, made a moving tribute to Garner, speaking about police militarization and including the phrase, “I can't breathe” between each statement—the phrase Garner said as his life was choked away, and which has since become a rallying cry for protesters.

Watch it:

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. I can't breathe.

I yield.”

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