Tags: daniel pantaleo | eric garner | indictment | death

Conservative Pundits: Chokehold Cop Pantaleo Should Have Been Indicted

Image: Conservative Pundits: Chokehold Cop Pantaleo Should Have Been Indicted
The memorial of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, July 21, 2014. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters/Landov, file)

By    |   Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 10:58 AM

NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted by a grand jury over the death of petty criminal Eric Garner, but many conservative publications say he should have been charged.

"What happened to Eric Garner was certainly not deliberate, but rather the result of a series of horrible choices. First, by Garner, to resist, and then by Officer Daniel Pantaleo to immobilize Garner by using an around-the-neck hold, which New York City cops are trained not to use," wrote John Podhoretz, the editor of the conservative Jewish publication Commentary magazine.

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"It strikes me as understandable that a grand jury would look at the events and not see something they would call a murder. But a murder charge was not the only choice open to them, or so we are being told right now. There are gradations of illegality involving the unnecessary death of someone," he explained. Podhoretz doesn't used the word manslaughter in his op-ed, but the range of gradations he speaks of could include manslaughter or criminal negligence.

According to a medical examiner who assessed Garner's cause of death, he did not die in Pantaleo's chokehold, but the chokehold did set in motion his asthma and heart disease — which ultimately killed him. A widely circulated video of the arrest captured by a bystander shows that Garner told the cops multiple times during and after the chokehold that he could not breathe.

Instead of a murder charge, Sean Davis at The Federalist suggested that Pantaleo's actions fall under the New York statue defining manslaughter.

"A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when: 1. He recklessly causes the death of another person," reads section 125.15 of the criminal code.

"[A]n officer used a banned practice that is known to lead to the deaths of people who are subjected to it," wrote Davis. This, he suggests, is good enough to charge the officer, and let a jury determine just how reckless or not reckless the chokehold was given the context.

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Fox News contributor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer said on Wednesday night's episode of "Special Report" that he also disagreed with the grand jury's decision not to indict.

"From looking at the video, the grand jury's decision here is totally incomprehensible. It looks as if at least they might have indicted him on something like involuntary manslaughter, at the very least," he said.

"The guy actually said, 'I can't breathe,' which ought to be a signal that the guy was unarmed, and the crime was as petty as they come . . . He was selling loose cigarettes, which is, in and of itself, almost absurd that someone has to die over that."

At National Review, contributor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote a detailed article on section 35.30 of the state's penal code, which controls the use of physical force by police officers. He, too, suggests that an indictment should have been brought by the grand jury, and that a full trial could weigh the reasonableness against the text of the statue. 

"[B]ear in mind that the evidentiary standard for indictment is mere probable cause, not the more demanding 'proof beyond a reasonable doubt' standard that applies at trial," he wrote. "When one looks at the video, it is hard to imagine that the grand jury decided not only that the [medical examiner]'s homicide finding was an overstatement but that it was so clearly erroneous as to preclude probable cause of a crime."



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NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted by a grand jury over the death of petty criminal Eric Garner, but many conservative publications say he should have been charged.
daniel pantaleo, eric garner, indictment, death
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2014-58-04
Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 10:58 AM
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