Eric Garner

Silent Defiance: Kid Wears 'RIP Eric Garner' Shirt, Dunks Over Cop Car


NYPD Twitter

You've probably heard about the tragic case of Eric Garner: On July 17, New York City Police officers tackled, asphyxiated, and killed the 56-year-old father of six with chokehold. He was allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. The NYPD has been getting some backlash for its heavy-handed "broken window" policing, and this weekend Garner's widow led a rally in opposition to police brutality, which has particularly affected the black community. Amid the NYPD's damage control effort, one young man staged a sort of protest of his own against the police.

During an annual basketball tournament on Friday in Staten Island, a "patrol car rolled into the park across the street" from the court, leaving "players and spectators fear[ing] police had arrived to break up the game." This was part of the setup, explains "The cop parked the car just in front of the hoop" and 20-year-old Brian Hogan-Gary leapt over the hood and executed a clean slam dunk. As planned, the cop car's sirens went off. The crowd went wild.

Although Joel Soto, the organizer of the tournament, cleared the stunt with the department beforehand, what appears to have been unplanned was Hogan-Gary's attire: just before taking the shot, he pulled off his jersey and revealed a shirt that read "R.I.P. ERIC GARNER" on the front and "JUSTICE" on the back. 

According to, Garner's sons are part of the basketball league that stages the tournament, but they weren't present.

It may have been a small, silent act, but it takes some brass to pull that one over the NYPD. Does the fact that it happened during a cop-approved event lessen Hogan-Gary's chutzpah? I'd argue not. Rather, it seems like it underscores his wit – kind of like when the NYPD ran a Twitter campaign to boost its image, only to be flooded with countless passive-aggressive replies in the form of photos of cops kicking the crap out of people. The police try to put on a kinder, gentler façade, and people like Hogan-Gary keep that picture in check.

Below is one angle of the shot. Click here for another angle.

NEXT: Judge: No Concealed Carry in D.C. Quite Yet

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  1. A good Zenon Bomb!

    Now,if only a Souzaphone player for TBDBITL would do the same at the next Ohio State Board of Regents meeting, right Z?

    1. Bombs away.

      You know, I used to play the sousaphone. Not during my Ohio State days, but in high school when I was *really* popular.

      1. The sousaphone is nice, I suppose. But when I was in high school, if you really wanted to get with the ladeez, you blew a tuba.

    2. If OSU’s band only had some history….

      Director Harding also exhibited a great admiration for the “March King” John Philip Sousa, and history shows that, from the bandleader’s perspective, the admiration was mutual. Sousa composed the University of Illinois March for Harding in 1929 and recognized the University of Illinois Band as the “world’s greatest college band.” In fact, Sousa was so impressed with Harding’s organization of the band library at Illinois that the composer’s family bequeathed his personal library of band music to the University Bands. It arrived in 1932 in 39 wooden trunks and two boxes, weighing over 9,170 pounds

      *ducks and runs from room, flinging deep dish pizzas and artisnal mayo jars behind*

  2. Um. All political talk aside, that was kinda rad.

    Including political ramifications and demonstrations of protest, that was….kinda reaaaaaally rad.

  3. The police try to put on a kinder, gentler fa?ade, and people like Hogan-Gary keep that picture in check.

    The only way it works in the era of social media is to actually be kinder and gentler and keep yourself in check. Police yourselves or you invite others to do it for you.

  4. Of all the things written surrounding Eric Garner, this is the most meaningless.

    1. Eh, I’m not sure anything stops the NYPD. This is the most visceral protest I can imagine. If the intellect don’t make it, then…

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