Chokehold – a new song

March against police brutality 082314 Photo by Stacy Lanyon

I sang this new song at the March for Justice for Victims of Police Brutality, on August 23, 2014 in Staten Island, pictured above. It has been updated since then.


by Paul Stein

Eric Garner stood proud at six foot three.
A warm teddy bear of a man was he.
Lived in Staten Island with his family.
Lost his life to police brutality. (chorus)

Check out the video!
It’s plain to see,
He was choked to death by the NYPD.
Another black man cut down in a murder by cop.
We’re here to declare that this killing must stop!

Cops claimed he sold “loosies” in the street,
So they went to arrest him on their beat.
For selling cigarettes, they took his life.
Left behind six children and a wife. (chorus)

Eric cried, “I can’t breathe,” as the cops jumped his back.
Did they ignore him ‘cause his skin is black?
Eleven times, “I can’t breathe,” as he ran out of air,
But the cops kept on pressing, they just didn’t care. (chorus)

As Eric lay motionless in great distress,
EMT’s didn’t rush to treat or assess.
Along with eight cops, they stood around,
Leaving Eric unconscious right there on the ground. (chorus)

The medical examiner confirmed how he died.
The ME’s report said “homicide”.
Justice demands that the cops do hard time
For murdering Eric, a racist crime. (chorus)

There was Amadou, Patrick, Ramarley before.
Anthony, Sean, and so many more.
Now Eric, Michael, and Akai.
We take to the streets so no more will die. (chorus)