Friday, December 5, 2014

Blame only the man who tragically decided to resist

NY Post    Eric Garner and Michael Brown had much in common, not the least of which was this: On the last day of their lives, they made bad decisions. Epically bad decisions.

Each broke the law — petty offenses, to be sure, but sufficient to attract the attention of the police.

And then — tragically, stupidly, fatally, inexplicably — each fought the law.
The law won, of course, as it almost always does.

This was underscored yet again Wednesday when a Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict any of the arresting officers in the death in police custody of Garner last July.

Just as a grand jury last week declined to indict the police officer who shot a violently resisting Michael Brown to death in Ferguson, Mo., in August.

Demagoguery rises to an art form in such cases — because, again, the police generally win. (Though not always, as a moment’s reflection before the Police Memorial in lower Manhattan will underscore.) And because those who advocate for cop-fighters are so often such accomplished beguilers.

They cast these tragedies as, if not outright murder, then invincible evidence of an enduringly racist society.

No such thing, as a matter of fact. Virtually always, these cases represent sad, low-impact collisions of cops and criminals — routine in every respect except for an outlier conclusion.

The Garner case is textbook.
Eric Garner was a career petty criminal who’d experienced dozens of arrests, but had learned nothing from them. He was on the street July 17, selling untaxed cigarettes one at a time — which, as inconsequential as it seems, happens to be a crime.

Yet another arrest was under way when, suddenly, Garner balked. “This ends here,” he shouted — as it turned out, tragically prophetic words — as he began struggling with the arresting officer.

Again, this was a bad decision. Garner suffered from a range of medical ailments — advanced diabetes, plus heart disease and asthma so severe that either malady might have killed him, it was said at the time.

Still, he fought — and at one point during the struggle, a cop wrapped his arm around Garner’s neck.

That image was captured on bystander video and later presented as irrefutable evidence of an “illegal” chokehold and, therefore, grounds for a criminal indictment against the cop.
That charge fails, and here’s why. [...]


  1. How is holding up a convenience store a petty criminal offense?

  2. Hieronymous PseudonymousDecember 11, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    "Epically." Of course.

  3. I'm not sure, but I think the backup was already there. Garner resisted arrest for at least several minutes based on the video. The cops even said to him that he "knew the drill and should make it easy", but he wouldn't listen.


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