Ignoring that little voice in my head that’s nagging ,”It’s not worth it, go spend the hour playing Call Of Duty, it will be more productive”, I decided to weigh in with the Eric Gardner decision;
A grand jury voted Wednesday not to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, multiple sources confirm.
Pantaleo put 47-year-old Garner into a chokehold during an arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes on July 17. In a viral video of the arrest, Garner can be seen screaming “I can’t breathe!” multiple times until his body goes limp. A medical examiner later ruled his death a homicide.
Chokeholds are banned by NYPD guidelines, and Garner’s death prompted large protests across the city.
For those that have not seen the video, here it is;
First off, this case is nothing like what we saw in Ferguson. Where I have tremendous sympathy for Darren Wilson and the way his whole life is now ruined (at least he is alive, unlike this cop who died under circumstances eerily similar), and contempt for low rent Michael Brown and his equally low rent parents, here, I do have sympathy for the victim and great suspicions regarding how the police handled this arrest.
Some would argue that this was a low priority beef, that the cops should be handling more important/higher priority crimes. As stated before, they do not get to pick and choose what laws they like and what laws they show “judicial discretion”, unlike our president, especially if they are called to the scene by a complainant (like this case). One can wonder if an arrest was even warranted here (there is a lapse in the video so any dialogue up to the actual arrest is speculation). But the manner of the arrest was clear from the video.
It is clear that the officer acted out of policy, chock holds are forbidden within the NYPD, any take down that puts pressure on the neck is forbidden, for obvious reasons. If in fact Gardner was resisting (which includes actions as innocuous as not complying with the orders of the officer) then why not just tase him? Grabbing him from behind by the neck and dragging him down puts you at risk (what happens if he falls on you, or pushes your head into the brick wall?), no, they handled it poorly. He wasn’t going anywhere, call for more back up, if none is available then take him down at a safe distance.
Granted, his 400lb’s of obese-ness and his asthma contributed to his death (given these conditions it is possible that a taser charge could have stopped his heart and killed him as well, but at least they would be acting within policy). There exists here a direct link between the chockhold and Gardner’s death.
Another cause of great concern (and one that will cost the city of NY millions at settlement)is the manner in which they did not render aid to a clearly distressed Gardner after the arrest. Each officer has a duty to render aid, especially once they arrested him and special relationship was established, but they did nothing, not good.
To be honest, I expected some indictment to follow, a lesser charge of negligent homicide. something that connected the dots between an officer acting out of policy and the death of a citizen.
And where I think the Brown family is deserving of nothing monetarily (maybe an indictment of inciting a riot for that lunatic step father), here I suspect big bucks will flow to the family of Eric Gardner. Where Michael Brown’s actions and demeanor (and to some extent his parents, who raised him this way) caused his own death, Gardner is a sympathetic figure who died way before his time.
I would hope that the offending chock holder at least gets fired, not holding my breath.