Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi Talks Eric Garner and Trump

Steve Adubato goes one-on-one to talk with Rolling Stone contributor, Matt Taibbi, about his book "I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street" about the controversial death of Eric Garner. Taibbi also discusses the challenges in covering the Trump administration.

12/21/17 #2096






"We are honored in the public broadcasting family to welcome one of the most compelling journalists out there today, Matt Taibbi, Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone, the author of this book, I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street. It's the story of Eric Garner, and a video that we can never forget, and should never forget. Who was Eric Garner? And why does he matter so much more today than ever? Eric Garner was an interesting, funny, complicated, flawed, much loved person. You know, I started to be interested in his story most intensely after the decision by the grand jury to not indict the police officer in this case. Let's set it up again. Physically, where are we talking about? This happened on Staten Island? On Staten Island. Yeah. Eric Garner was the man who was... He was selling cigarettes? He was allegedly selling... Allegedly? Sorry. ...selling loose cigarettes. And he got into a confrontation with police, and they applied a chokehold, and he was killed in the incident. What did he keep saying over and over again? He said, "I can't breathe" eleven times. And nonetheless, they kept subduing him. He died in the encounter. The video, the entire episode, was recorded. And it was really... By bystanders on the street if I'm not mistaken? Right. By bystanders. In particular, one man named Ramsey Orta, who is now in prison. And the fact that the whole thing was recorded became... it was kind of a seminal event in the history of the internet, in the history of America's relationship to how it understands police brutality, and it was the first in a series of incidents including people like Freddie Gray, and Michael Brown, that sort of drew public attention to this case, to this problem. Why did you jump into this? By the way, we've done so many programs connected to the complex set of issues dealing with police and the minority community. And we talked to a whole range of law enforcement professionals, we talked to folks who see things somewhat differently, some in the law enforcement community. Sure. What drew you to this? Just out of curiosity on the day after the grand jury decided not to indict the police officer in question. I drove out to Staten Island, I don't live that far from there, and I just started to talk to people on the street about... That was a grand jury from the community? Yeah, from the community. Which matters. Absolutely. Which matters. Yeah. And I started to talk to people on the street about Eric Garner, and he just seemed like an interesting person, and one of the..."