You heard me correctly. Ace must have read my mind. From “So Like Everyone On the Right is Now Outraged by the Garner Death Just Like They Were Outrage by the “Militarization of Police” in Ferguson:
Did Eric Garner deserve to die? No. The crime that began all this was selling “Loosies,” single cigarettes out of the pack, in defiance of the state tobacco tax laws and all the other nonsense laws they throw on people about only selling things in their original packaging. Minor shit. Nonsense.
And yet, he defied police orders when they attempted to arrest them. When they tried to cuff him, he defied them again, pulling his arms away. He decided, as a Jury of One, that the law was silly and he would not be being arrested today.
I can’t entirely blame him for feeling that way, but I know that if the police attempt to arrest you for a law which you are in fact breaking, even if you think it’s a minor harassing sort of law, you do not have the right to resist arrest.
What followed is what follows in all resisting-arrest cases: some escalating violence as the police attempt to physically impose their will on the noncompliant suspect.
Some number of such situations will result in the death of the suspect.
I guess I just don’t understand how we say this guy is guilty of manslaughter, given that in almost all cases where a guy’s heart just gives out in a struggle, we could find some error in procedure as a hook to throw the guy in jail for.
Guess what happens when you refuse to sign a ticket?
You get ARRESTED!!
Guess what happens when you resist arrest?
The cops use FORCE to subdue you.
The cops could have tasered Garner. They could have hit him with pepper spray. They didn’t do either of those things. They waited until they had sufficient numbers and tried to swarm him. During the takedown one officer grabbed Garner around the neck in a rear headlock (NOT A CHOKEHOLD).
For reasons that are not clear, some big guys like Garner go into cardiac/respiratory arrest and die when tackled and handcuffed. But the cops weren’t trying to kill him. That makes his death accidental.
But what about the chokehold that wasn’t a chokehold? Wasn’t it illegal?
No, it wasn’t illegal. Chokeholds are prohibited by NYPD policy. Cops who violate policy can be disciplined or fired, but that doesn’t mean they committed a crime. And while all murders are homicides, not all homicides are murders.
The issue here is not whether should have been arresting Garner in the first place. It is not disputed that was breaking the law. Cops are supposed to enforce all the laws, not just the serious ones. If the State of New York doesn’t want cops arresting people for minor offenses they need to change the law.
The issue is whether the cops used reasonable force to overcome resistance in order to make an arrest. Based on that video I would say that they did. They weren’t trying to hurt Garner, just subdue him. Unfortunately he died. That is not murder. That’s not even manslaughter.
I’m not gonna get into the argument that he should have been indicted so there would be a public trial before a jury rendered its verdict. I will point out that a case could be made for negligence in a civil suit. I’m sure the Garner family has retained legal representation to pursue a wrongful death claim and they’ll probably get a sizable settlement.
That’s what us lawyers call a happy ending.