‘I Can’t Breathe!’ 2014 Top Quote


CNSnews.com— “I can’t breathe!” — the exclamation made by Eric Garner while being placed in a police chokehold — was chosen as the most notable quote of the year in an annual list released by a Yale University librarian.

Protesters holding signs.
According to CNSnews. com, it was one of several quotes chosen for the list released Tuesday that reflect tumult over race in America in 2014, particularly in the criminal justice system.

Fred Shapiro, an associate director at Yale Law School’s library, said he had already completed the list without Garner’s quote but revised it as protests grew following a grand jury’s decision last week to not indict a white officer in his death. Garner had gasped “I can’t breathe” on July 17 as he was being arrested for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

Also making the list was “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” — a chant of demonstrators protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old killed during a confrontation with a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Another quote that sparked conversations about race was made by former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to his mistress, V. Stiviano. An audio recording of the comment, in which he took issue with her “associating” with black people, led the NBA to ban Sterling.

The original “Yale Book of Quotations” was published in 2006, and Shapiro has updated it with an annual list of the top 10 quotes.

“These are not necessarily quotes I agree with or quotes I think are eloquent or admirable,” he said. He said quotes are chosen because they are famous or important or reflect the spirit of the times.

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