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#Crimingwhilewhite: white privilege, racism, Eric Garner and Michael Brown set Twitter ablaze

Outrage follows Garner grand jury verdict – from SMH

New York residents and community leaders express outrage after a grand jury decide not to indict a New York City police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

The killing of two unarmed men by US police has caused violent protests and national soul-searching in the US, and global conversations online.

Michael Brown, 18, was unarmed when he was shot in Ferguson by police officer Darren Wilson in August this year.

Several witnesses claim Mr Brown had his hands up when he was shot eight times, and “hands up don’t shoot’ quickly became a statement synonymous with excessive force used by the police, racism and black rights.

Protesters in Oakland, California, hold a sign during a march against the New York City grand jury's decision not to indict white police officer Daniel Pantaleo, who killed unarmed black man Eric Garner.Protesters in Oakland, California, hold a sign during a march against the New York City grand jury’s decision not to indict white police officer Daniel Pantaleo, who killed unarmed black man Eric Garner. Photo: Reuters

Eric Garner, 43, died after he was placed in a chokehold by police who had approached him for selling single cigarettes in July. He complained that he was tired of being harassed before Officer Daniel Pantaleo reached around Mr Garner’s neck. Video footage captures Mr Garner telling the police 10 times he could not breathe.

In both cases, despite evidence, and even video footage in the Garner case, US grand juries voted not to launch criminal investigations into the conduct of the officers.

In November, police also shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was waving a toy gun in a playground.

Protesters stage a "die-in" at New York's Grand Central Station after the Garner decision was announced.Protesters stage a “die-in” at New York’s Grand Central Station after the Garner decision was announced. Photo: AP

The deaths have been a catalyst for local rights groups and sparked protests across the United States and beyond.

Many have taken to Twitter to express their heartbreak and rage. After the grand jury chose not to indict Mr Wilson, #blacklivesmatter trended as people shared their sense of betrayal and what they saw as a sickening lack of surprise at the decision.

After the grand jury’s decision not to indict Mr Pantaleo this week, #blacklivesmatter trended again but so to did  #crimingwhilewhite, in which white people wrote about the better treatment they receive from police.

The conversation was a response to people sharing about everyday racism with the #alivewhileblack hashtag.

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