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I Can't Breathe: The Killing That Started a Movement

Author: Matt Taibbi

WH Allen, London, 2017, pp. 336

Matt Taibbi discusses Eric Garner’s life and work as a cigarettes dealer, and his subsequent killing by the police of New York that strengthened the Black Lives Matter movement and protest. He reports on how he become targeted by the police, and allegedly mistaken by police officers on the day of his death. He touches upon his problematic personal and health conditions, within the wider context of the criminalisation of drugs policies in the United States of America. The work expands on Garner’s life and killing, contextualising its narration on the 2008 Bloomberg’s policy of tax increase on cigarettes of 400% per pack, which – Taibbi argues – motivated Eric Garner to sell cigarettes to people who couldn’t afford them. Additional contextualising elements to the analysis that Taibbi offers are the ‘broken windows’ policing, computerised policing and statistical analyses on crime rate and the inherently racialized imposition of order that stems from them.