'Breathe Easy' T-shirts stir controversy

Story highlights

  • Indiana police officer sells T-shirts that read "Breathe Easy, Don't Break the Law"
  • Jason Barthel says the shirts are meant to remind people that police are there to protect them
  • Critics are angry over apparent reference to Eric Garner's last words, "I can't breathe"
  • It "shows great disrespect to ... victims of police misconduct," one commenter writes
Eric Garner's final words have become a rallying call for protesters across the country.
In the days following a grand jury decision not to indict New York police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's chokehold death, demonstrators in New York City and beyond took to the streets demanding justice, chanting "I can't breathe" -- a reference to Garner's last utterance.
A police officer and small business owner in Indiana is hoping to change the conversation around police-community relations.
Jason Barthel, an officer with the Mishawaka Police Department and the owner of South Bend Uniform Company, is selling a T-shirt that reads "Breathe Easy, Don't Break the Law." The shirt is emblazoned with a graphic of a police officer's badge.
Barthel said the shirt is meant to bring people together and remind communities that police officers are there to serve and protect -- not to harm.