A Staten Island grand jury that failed to return an indictment
against white New York Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold death of Eric Garner was "wrong, wrong, wrong," conservative talk show host Michael Savage said Thursday.
"The grand jury said he's not indictable, [but] they are 100 percent wrong," Savage said on his show, "The Savage Nation."
"He should have been indicted."
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Even though Savage is a conservative, he told listeners that they should not "tell me I'm supposed to support the police right or wrong. I won't do it ... I'm not just going to sit here and kiss the behinds of the people who wear the blue."
The police are right "99 percent of the time; they're right 99.9 percent of the time," said Savage, but he called Garner's death "the chokehold murder of an innocent man."
"Now you say, he wasn't innocent, he was selling cigarettes on the street," said Savage. "Did he assault the police? No. Did he threaten the police? No. Was his crime sufficient to justify the police taking him down in such a brutal manner. Of course not."
But the Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict Pantaleo, and Savage called their action an "oh-my-God decision" coming on the heels of a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
"How do you support such an act by these police?" Savage said of Pantaleo and other officers who were present at Garner's death, encouraging his show's listeners to watch the widely circulated video tape and to hear Garner telling the police officers he could not breathe.
"You say 'Savage, you're a conservative you should support the police,'" he said. "No, I should do nothing like that. It's not police right or wrong with me. It's not whites good, blacks bad with me. It's not one way or the other with me."
Savage said when he first watched the video of Garner's death when it occurred in July, "my heart broke for the black man. I watched the thug cop put him in a choke hold, which by the way is illegal. I hear the black man begging for his life as he said 'I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.' I said, 'This is an act of murder.'"
He played the audio from the Garner death on the show, and said that the slain man sounded like he was drowning.
"Tell me what happened when the guy is saying he can't breathe," said Savage. "Did they pull back? Did the jackals pull back? Did the big cop Daniel Pantaleo with the big muscular tattooed arms, did he release his chokehold?"
Instead, said Savage, "another low-life schmuck jumped on the guy and ground his face into the pavement while he was almost half dead."
The talk show host said that he knows he'll take heat on his opinion on Garner's death, and that listeners want him to do "a knee-jerk thing, that the cop was only doing his job."
"You want me to do a knee-jerk thing, that the cop was only doing his job," said Savage. "That is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong."
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