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Professional sports players around the country have recently come out to join the thousands of protestors in the US rallying against police brutality and racism.

St. Louis Rams players raised their hands in the Michael Brown "Don't Shoot" gesture (Brown was initially alleged to be in this now iconic pose when shot by officer Darren Wilson). Others around both the NFL and NBA have come out with "I Can't Breathe" shirts in pregame warmups, a nod to the brutal killing of Eric Garner, whose last words were caught on camera, "I can't breathe", as he was choked to death by an officer with an illegal chokehold.

Though the death rate of police officers is about half that of truck drivers, black men are killed nearly every day by police (and half of those police deaths are traffic incidents). Yet another case erupted in Cleveland.

Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a shirt that read "Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford".

Rice, a 12 year old, was killed back on November 22nd. He was carrying a pellet gun and gunned down within seconds of an officer exiting his vehicle. Video was recently released showing the shooting. John Crawford, 22, was gunned and killed by Cleveland police when holding a toy in a local Walmart.

The president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, Jeffrey Follmer, said last night that the killings were justified and critized Hawkins for his protest.

VICE News:
The union chief called Hawkins' actions "pathetic," telling MSNBC, "It's not a call for justice, they were justified." He said the two officers called to the scene of Rice's death had to "defend themselves" with deadly force against the 12-year-old.

"Cleveland police officers work with the Cleveland Browns hand-in-hand, and when he disrespects two of our police officers, he disrespects everybody else," he said.

Regarding the deaths of these young black men, which have further stoked mass national protests against police killings, Follmer said, "We're not apologizing to anyone."

The St. Louis police union demanded the NFL and St. Louis Rams apologize after their protest of police brutality in Ferguson. They did not apologize to anyone.

Michael Saver 12/16/2014 01:34:00 PM Edit
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