As the “I Can’t Breathe” campaign to bring awareness to the death of Eric Garner at the hands of an NYPD officer who avoided criminal indictment continues, a police officer in South Bend, Michigan, decided to start his own campaign to show support to cops around the country.
Jason Barthel, a local police officer and owner of South Bend Uniform, decided that he had had enough of seeing people wear “I Can’t Breathe” shirts after the University of Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team donned t-shirts with the phrase at a recent game. In response, Barthel decided that he would create a shirt of his own and sell it for his uniform business.
“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," Barthel said, according to the Daily Herald. "When you break the law, unfortunately there's going to be consequences, and some of them aren't going to be pretty. Unfortunately that's the reality."
The new shirts read, “Breathe easy, don’t break the law” and are being sold to raise support for police officers. Eric Garner’s last words before he died were “I can’t breathe,” which is why activists are using that phrase for their cause, but Barthel says he hopes his shirts remind people that police are there to protect them from those who break the law.
"My goal is to create a new brand, and that brand is going to continue to evolve into a sense of bringing people together,” Barthel said.
The shirts are currently being sold at South Bend Uniform for $7.95 each.