As expected, a Staten Island grand jury did not indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for choking Eric Garner to death.
Following the decision, thousands of people took to the streets to protest the decision in New York City as well as in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Ferguson, Missouri – where a grand jury last week declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting Mike Brown.
The virtual world was also ablaze in protest over Pantaleo’s non-indictment, expressing outrage against widespread and uncontrollable racial profiling and police brutality in the United States.
Using the hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite, thousands of users on Twitter – a majority of whom appear to be white people – are confessing to crimes they are treated differently by the police for the crimes that usually get black people arrested – or in several cases even killed.
My 13yo son and his friends were loitering at Walgreens recently. Only his black friend got searched for shoplifting. ~ #CrimingWhileWhite ~— Dave Hoover (@davehoover) December 4, 2014
At 13 I stole a car with my friends & drove it 2wks before we got busted. Only one charged was black. #CrimingWhileWhite— Cecily Kellogg (@Cecilyk) December 4, 2014
I can basically do whatever in my gentrifying neighborhood because cops dont pay attention to white ppl except as victims #crimingwhilewhite— Kath Barbadoro (@kathbarbadoro) December 3, 2014
caught smoking weed on private property, lied repeatedly to cops, they found an oz in my car, told me to drive home slow #CrimingWhileWhite— billy corgan (@UncleNatie) December 3, 2014
In high school I got in a 3 car wreck that might have been my fault. The cop told me it was the "illegal alien's" fault. #CrimingWhileWhite— Elizabeth (@oceana_roll) December 3, 2014
I yelled at a cop a few weeks ago. He called me the c word and threatened to arrest me, but he didn't kill me. #CrimingWhileWhite— Nancy Arents (@narents) December 3, 2014
Although there have been various Twitter discussions highlighting racial profiling – such as #BlackLivesMatter, #HandsUpDontShoot and #IfTheyGunnedMeDown – #CrimingWhileWhite is the first hashtag in which people are openly acknowledging white privilege in the U.S. and how the criminal justice system works in its favor.