I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street

By Matt Taibbi
Read by Dominic Hoffman

12.85 Hours 10/24/2017 unabridged
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    ISBN: 9780735288140

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    ISBN: 9780735288133

A work of riveting literary journalism that explores the roots and repercussions of the infamous killing of Eric Garner by the New York City police—from the bestselling author of The Divide On July 17, 2014, a forty-three-year-old black man named Eric Garner died on a Staten Island sidewalk after a police officer put him in what has been described as an illegal chokehold during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes. The final moments of Garner’s life were captured on video and seen by millions. His agonized last words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry for the nascent Black Lives Matter protest movement. A grand jury ultimately declined to indict the officer who wrestled Garner to the pavement. Matt Taibbi’s deeply reported retelling of these events liberates Eric Garner from the abstractions of newspaper accounts and lets us see the man in full—with all his flaws and contradictions intact. A husband and father with a complicated personal history, Garner was neither villain nor victim, but a fiercely proud individual determined to do the best he could for his family, bedeviled by bad luck, and ultimately subdued by forces beyond his control. In America, no miscarriage of justice exists in isolation, of course, and in I Can’t Breathe Taibbi also examines the conditions that made this tragedy possible. Featuring vivid vignettes of life on the street and inside our Kafkaesque court system, Taibbi’s kaleidoscopic account illuminates issues around policing, mass incarceration, the underground economy, and racial disparity in law enforcement. No one emerges unsullied, from the conservative district attorney who half-heartedly prosecutes the case to the progressive mayor caught between the demands of outraged activists and the foot-dragging of recalcitrant police officials. A masterly narrative of urban America and a scathing indictment of the perverse incentives built into our penal system, I Can’t Breathe drills down into the particulars of one case to confront us with the human cost of our broken approach to dispensing criminal justice.

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Summary

Summary

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Boston Globe Pick of must-read books for Fall

A work of riveting literary journalism that explores the roots and repercussions of the infamous killing of Eric Garner by the New York City police—from the bestselling author of The Divide

On July 17, 2014, a forty-three-year-old black man named Eric Garner died on a Staten Island sidewalk after a police officer put him in what has been described as an illegal chokehold during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes. The final moments of Garner’s life were captured on video and seen by millions. His agonized last words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry for the nascent Black Lives Matter protest movement. A grand jury ultimately declined to indict the officer who wrestled Garner to the pavement.

Matt Taibbi’s deeply reported retelling of these events liberates Eric Garner from the abstractions of newspaper accounts and lets us see the man in full—with all his flaws and contradictions intact. A husband and father with a complicated personal history, Garner was neither villain nor victim, but a fiercely proud individual determined to do the best he could for his family, bedeviled by bad luck, and ultimately subdued by forces beyond his control.

In America, no miscarriage of justice exists in isolation, of course, and in I Can’t Breathe Taibbi also examines the conditions that made this tragedy possible. Featuring vivid vignettes of life on the street and inside our Kafkaesque court system, Taibbi’s kaleidoscopic account illuminates issues around policing, mass incarceration, the underground economy, and racial disparity in law enforcement. No one emerges unsullied, from the conservative district attorney who half-heartedly prosecutes the case to the progressive mayor caught between the demands of outraged activists and the foot-dragging of recalcitrant police officials.

A masterly narrative of urban America and a scathing indictment of the perverse incentives built into our penal system, I Can’t Breathe drills down into the particulars of one case to confront us with the human cost of our broken approach to dispensing criminal justice.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Narrator Dominic Hoffman’s gravelly timbre and tough tone are an ideal fit for this outstanding piece of journalism. There is a lot of dialogue here—a testament to Taibbi’s outstanding reporting—and Hoffman expertly characterizes New York and African-American speech without slipping into caricature. He also manages to capture Taibbi’s dark and occasionally sarcastic humor when recounting the injustice of the Garner case and others like it…Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.” AudioFile
“Richly reported and evocative…a vivid folk history that should prove useful to anyone who seeks to understand the world Eric Garner inhabited, not just progressives.” Jill Leovy, New York Times bestselling author
“A riveting walk through decades of policing policy and big city politics that culminated, seemingly inevitably, in Eric Garner’s killing…The tale Taibbi tells is not one of a death but one of a life. In capturing the fullness of Garner’s ‘imperfect humanity,’ I Can’t Breathe adds a vital account of police violence and a vivid exploration of its lingering costs…[and] captures the totality of an American tragedy.” Wesley Lowery, Pulitzer Prize–winner and New York Times bestselling author
“A complex and textured examination of the complicated personalities, flawed legal system, and politics revolving around the police killing of forty-three-year-old Eric Garner, whose final words became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.” Boston Globe
“[A] brilliant work…Taibbi is unsparing is his excoriation of the system, police, and courts that led to the fatal choke hold and worked to blur the abuse afterward…This is a necessary and riveting work.” Booklist (starred review)
“[A] searing exposé…What emerges from the author’s superb reporting and vivid writing is a tragically revealing look at a broken criminal justice system geared to serve white citizens while often overlooking or ignoring the rights of others.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi, author of the New York Times bestsellers Insane Clown President, The Divide, and The Great Derangement, among other works. He is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2008 National Magazine Award for columns and commentary. He won a Sidney Award in 2009 for his article “The Great American Bubble Machine.”

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD
Category: Nonfiction/Social Science
Runtime: 12.85
Audience: Adult
Language: English