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Pussy Riot Pays Tribute To Eric Garner With Their First Song In English

Pussy Riot enlists some rockstar help in their controversial new protest song “I Can’t Breathe”

image via youtube screen capture

Eric Garner’s July 2014 choking death, and the subsequent decision to not indict the New York Police Department officers who were responsible, sent thousands into the streets to rally against the biases and brutalities seen as commonplace in not only law enforcement, but society at large. Among them were Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, members of the Russian political-punk collective Pussy Riot. Inspired by the protests, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova this week released “I Can’t Breathe,” their first song in English.

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A Song About Eric Garner from the Rap Group that Saw Him Die

Garner died right outside their studio, and now they’ve channeled their anger into this new song.

The Rising Sun All Stars. Image via the Rising Sun All Stars' Twitter page.

Several months after witnessing the death of Eric Garner happen right outside his Staten Island-based recording studio, Gary Nieves, Jr., along with his rap group, The Rising Sun All-Stars, have released a single in honor of Garner’s life. They knew Garner as a “gentle giant” who often hung out on their street, not only selling loosies but also helping resolve conflicts. Available for free to listen to on SoundCloud and BandCamp, their song, I Can’t Breathe, represents the group’s attempt to grapple with Garner’s death and the grand jury verdict that cleared the police officer who killed him. Nieves wrote the music for the track; NenJah Nycist, one of the band’s two singers, wrote the lyrics.

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The Absurdist Theatre of the NYPD

When NYPD officers turned their backs on de Blasio, they also turned their backs on us.

NYPD officers turned their backs on New York City mayor Bill De Blasio at Officer Rafael Ramos' funeral. Photo by Flickr user Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916.

By now, you’ve likely heard the story of how Ismaaiyl Brinsley—who once testified in a Georgia court that he suffered from mental illness—began the morning of December 20th. He entered his ex-girlfriend Shaneka Thompson’s apartment in Baltimore County using a key he wasn’t supposed to have, then shot and critically wounded her. A trip on a Bolt Bus and several chilling posts to Instagram later, Brinsley ambushed two NYPD officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, killing the men as they sat in their squad car eating lunch, before turning his weapon on himself.

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