At first blush, perhaps the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner may seem similar. In both cases police killed a black man, in both cases the man killed was quite large, and in both cases the man who died was unarmed. But that is where the similarities end.
See, in the case of Michael Brown, the overwhelming majority of the evidence points to self-defense and the justifiable use of force. The witness testimony, the forensic evidence and the dead man’s actions that day all speak to the innocence of Officer Darren Wilson.
However, in the case of Eric Garner, the evidence clearly shows just the opposite. The police used unnecessary force and caused (though by accident) the death of an unarmed black man. While Officer Daniel Pantaleo likely did not mean to kill Mr. Garner, the fact is… he did.
Watch the video of his death here – please be forewarned, the video shows the arrest and killing of Mr. Garner. It’s not easy to watch…
(You can hear his pleas for air between :50 – 60 seconds on the video)
Eric Garner’s death was caught on tape for the world to see and anyone can clearly recognize that he made no effort to fight back – though he did resist being taken into custody. He made no aggressive movements, offered no threats and openly pleaded for the police officer to stop choking him as he lay on the ground dying. You can hear him begging for help as he fights for breath. Meanwhile at least five officers press down upon him while several other officers hold back the gathering and incredulous crowd.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday a grand jury in New York decided not to indict officer Pantaleo, even though the video quite obviously showed him causing Mr. Garner’s death.
Conservatives across the media spectrum exploded on Wednesday evening…
Judge Andrew Napolitano at Fox News:
Sean Davis at the Federalist:
“The grand jury’s decision not to bring any charges against the officer who killed Garner is inexplicable. It defies reason. It makes no sense. Unlike the Michael Brown case, we don’t have to rely on shaky and unreliable testimony from so-called eyewitnesses. We don’t need to review bullet trajectories or forensics. All we have to do is watch the video and believe our own eyes.”
The Eric Garner murder is pretty much slam-dunk second-degree manslaughter at the very least. But hey: Two Americas. pic.twitter.com/ll6apG3CIO
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 3, 2014
Leon Wolf at RedState: This decision is really and truly baffling to me, and infuriating besides. I understand the vast majority of cops are good at their jobs and conscientious about protecting the civil rights of citizens. But there are without a doubt bad cops who make bad decisions and when they do so from a position of authority the damage they can do is exponentially worse. Ken White:
I don’t like Eric Holder, and in general don’t approve of Feds doubling up, but the Eric Garner case merits it. This needs a U.S. Attorney. — Popehat (@Popehat) December 3, 2014
Seriously, can you imagine what Sam Fucking Adams would have said at the news that a man had been killed over cigarette taxes.
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) December 3, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder held a press conference later in the evening to announce that they would be initiating a federal investigation into Eric Garner’s death.
Part of the problem with the AG trying to instigate a federal investigation is that he would first need to prove racism or some other extreme exigent circumstance… and I just don’t think there is any evidence of that.
And making the entire situation even worse is the background to the arrest and death.
Garner was being arrested for selling cigarettes illicitly. In New York cigarettes are taxed at ridiculous levels, and the penalty for selling A CIGARETTE (just one single cig) is worse than being caught with 2 ounces of marijuana. Get caught with some pot, you get a ticket. Get caught selling a cigarette, you get arrested.
I would hate to see what happens if some little girl tries to sell lemonade on the sidewalk, or some kid sells candy bars to his neighbors… that probably gets the SWAT team out.
Why does anyone choose to live in the police state that is New York? Makes no sense to me…
Eric Garner may have been breaking New York’s ridiculous law, but he didn’t deserve to be arrested – let alone killed. Officer Pantaleo used a chokehold to subdue Mr. Garner (a move which is thoroughly against NYPD regulations). Then he put both his hands on Mr. Garner’s head and held it down as the man begged for air. Eric Garner’s killer deserves to face criminal charges for his part in Garner’s death. This time the grand jury was WRONG.
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