How to breathe easy…don’t break the law


With the wave of activism in the US and more hashtagging and t-shirt activism over “I can’t breathe” a cop has taken them all on with his own shirt,

In recent weeks, we have seen basketball players go on the court for warm ups before games wearing t-shirts that say, “I Can’t Breathe.” In fact, the entire Phoenix Suns basketball team entered the court earlier this week wearing the t-shirts. NBA stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James also participated in making a statement by wearing the shirt. This is their way of showing support and bringing attention to the death of Eric Garner in New York.

While the police officer involved in the arrest during which Garner suffered a health emergency and subsequently died was not indicted in his death, some on both sides of the political aisle find aspects of what happened troubling. However, one fact that has been virtually hidden is that although the arresting officer was white, the entire situation was supervised by a black, female sergeant.

It’s no coincidence that the “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts being worn are black with white lettering as many, including MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, have tried to turn the issue into a racial one despite the fact that both Garner’s wife and daughter do not believe that race had anything to do with his death.   

In response to these shirts, and to bring attention to the fact that Garner would still be alive had he not been breaking the law, a police officer who is also an entrepreneur has designed his own shirt.

Jason Barthel owns an apparel company called South Bend Uniforms and is also a police officer in Mishawaka, Indiana.

In an interview with the Daily Herald , Barthel said, ““The problem is we have a lot of people who are trying to create problems between the citizens and the people who try to protect them.” He continued, “My goal is to create a new brand, and that brand is going to continue to evolve into a sense of bringing people together.”

While Barthel has no animosity or bitterness towards those wearing the “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts, the problem, he says, is that those shirts only show one side of the story. He believes the police perspective must also be taken into account.

“We are not here to do anything negative to the public. We’re here to protect the public and we want you to breathe easy knowing that the police are here to be with you and for you and protect you.”

Barthel says his phone has been ringing off the hook as news of his t-shirt has spread.

Of course there are now those who want to stop these shirts being sold…they only want one side of the argument presented and so seek to impinge other people’s freedom of speech by trying to ban the sale of the shirts.




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  • Quinton Hogg

    Great Tee shirt.
    I might have to order some for my self.

  • JC

    The other side to this story is.. “Don’t make laws unless you are prepared to kill to enforce them”.

    This is happening everywhere, authorities are making silly little laws like the one that killed Garner, ie, thou shalt not sell loose cigarettes and deprive the city of a cent of tax or thou shalt be fined $80 for exceeding the speed limit by 1kph.

    Technically the cops are right to enforce the law but its killing their reputation and reducing co-operation. In Fergussen where that oaf Brown was killed each household has an average of three convictions for petty offences which can result in arrest, jail overnight or longer and loss of job.

    Basically in any population you have 30% who are Darwinian candidates simply through lack of education or brains. But as one New York cop put it if you hit them all the time with enforcing silly laws and rules you lose your eyes and ears to help solve the bigger crimes.


    • All_on_Red

      It’s a good point JC. Recently in LA a cop shot someone and it was all over a dispute which blew up from them getting a ticket for using a Disability Car park!
      Ironically that person is now paralysed and is now legally allowed to park there…
      Must be hard to be a Policeman over there though. You just never know what you are going to strike over the smallest things and really what’s with someone putting up a fight for being arrested over cigarettes or fighting with a cop about a parking ticket. Just madness.
      I do wonder that because of the uncertainty about a reaction they might get, that the Police approach each scenario in an aggressive way so they don’t lose control- does this spark off the response?
      We’re pretty lucky we have cops who can be a bit laid back.

  • mommadog

    My mum taught m that there are always two sides to every story. So some don’t like that this cop has decide to respond by bringing out his own version of a T-Shirt. How do they deal with it…..
    Regardless of what side you are on or whether you can see the grey in between they are only T Shirts and democracy is supposed to be about being able to voice your opinion.

    • intelligentes candida diva

      Hadnt read your comment before posting mine,
      Im saying same but probably Im more convoluted, yours says it well “democracy”

  • ozbob68

    Seems like Rev Al Sharpton is the US version of John Minto, always up for an indignant showing at the cause-de-jour, yet not doing anything constructive to resolve the situation.

  • Bruce S

    I find it hard to breathe easy when so called law enforcement officers can kill a human being over the sale of a few cigarettes. Whilst we all know not to break the law; sometimes stupid laws will be transgressed. If this guy had to sell loose cigarettes to make ends meet; was it not a better option than robbing stores? Is the sanity test now going to be; if I’m going to die for selling cigarettes then perhaps I should be prepared to kill to do so? No; I didn’t think so.

    • wooted

      Nice try minimising his action, but you are wrong. In fact he was violently resisting arrest. Got that? Violently!

      • Bruce S

        No; I got nothing. I am not minimizing his actions; merely pointing out that killing someone for a few cigarettes is not the act of law enforcement. In case you haven’t been watching – check out the arrest.

        • intelligentes candida diva

          Two issues here
          1 Are the Police accountable for mistreatment resulting in death? To me a) The video does not view well for Police. I did not see any aspect of violence on the part of the deceased, that said I dont know the background, looked like Police were familiar with him. b) I’m not a Dr but being asthmatic here are a few features that impact i) the individual was grossly overweight which would affect breathing, ii) being in a laying down position would likely have an impact, iii) being held around the neck certainly impacts, iv) all of the above and talking would have a big impact v) all of the above and stressed anxious would cause an impact.
          Sad situation for all.

          2 The t shirt debate is another issue. I’m all for the Policeman’s “Breathe easy” t shirt, if its ok for freedom of speech to allow “I cant breathe” t shirts. The t shirt issue is about equality in Freedom of speech, if its ok for one the its ok for the other in my books

        • Wallace Westland

          Oh he’s resisting alright. That’s the first time I’ve seen that video and I’ve stopped it at 0.58 seconds. He made his little speech and rant and then pushed off the cops as they took hold of him. Everything after that falls on his own head. I don’t need to see a man die. I’ve seen plenty.
          As to selling cigarettes to make ends meet that is as big a load of drivel as the window washers that are attempting to collect money with menaces over here. They are on the dole don’t pay tax and aren’t wanted on the streets by law abiding citizens. Period.