By Mia De Graaf and Darren Boyle
NYPD supporters flooded the streets wearing black hoodies branded with the words ‘I CAN breathe’ in a sickening pun on Eric Garner’s last words.
Anti-police protesters adopted the phrase ‘I can’t breathe’ as a rallying call in reference to the moment officer Daniel Pantaleo killed father-of-six Garner in a chokehold. But on Friday night, 100 people hit back at the demonstrations outside City Hall in the controversial customized clothing and confronted anti-cop protesters.
Facing off against the 200 people crying for justice for Eric Garner, they shouted: ‘don’t resist arrest’.
It comes after an Indiana police officer caused outraged offering t-shirts for sale with the legend ‘Breathe Easy: Don’t break the law’ on the front.
The t-shirts were produced by Corporal Jason Barthel of the City of Mishawaka Police in Indiana who owns and operates the South Bend Uniform Company. The t-shirts, which cost from $7.95 are seen as a play on the final words of Eric Garner who died after being restrained by the New York Police Department.
Garner, who was restrained in a choke-hold after he was spotted selling single cigarettes in New York told officers ‘I can’t breathe’, before slipping into unconsciousness.
Corporal Barthel said criticism of his t-shirts is misunderstood.
He said on his company’s Facebook page: ‘For those upset, please understand when we use the slogan “Breathe Easy” we are referring to knowing the police are there for you!