Tags: Eric Garner | chokehold | grand jury | police | michael brown

NY Post: In Resisting Arrest, Garner Was 'Victim of Himself'

By    |   Thursday, 04 December 2014 10:05 AM

Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson made bad decisions that eventually cost them their lives, and grand jury members in each case made the right decisions not to indict the police officers whose fatal force resulted in their deaths, the New York Post says in an op-ed piece Thursday.

"Each broke the law — petty offenses, to be sure, but sufficient to attract the attention of the police," writes The Post's Bob McManus. "And then — tragically, stupidly, fatally, inexplicably — each fought the law. The law won, of course, as it almost always does."

During Garner's arrest on July 17 for selling untaxed cigarettes one at a time on the street, he began struggling with the arresting officers, and at one point, one policeman put his arm around Garner's neck, an image that was captured on video and described as an illegal chokehold.

Garner, though, was suffering from several medical ailments — including advanced diabetes, heart disease and asthma, any of which may have killed him during the struggle, said McManus.

A Staten Island grand jury cleared the white police officer Wednesday, triggering protests in the streets by hundreds of New Yorkers who likened the case to the deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

"Demagoguery rises to an art form in such cases — because, again, the police generally win," said McManus, "because those who advocate for cop-fighters are so often such accomplished beguilers" who "cast these tragedies as, if not outright murder, then invincible evidence of an enduringly racist society."

Buy instead, he writes, the cases are more "collisions" between police officers and criminals that are routine, except for the conclusion.

Even though the hold the officer used is banned by New York Police Department regulations, it is not illegal by state law if used while making an arrest, McManus points out.

"The law gives cops the benefit of every reasonable doubt in the good-faith performance of their duties — and who would really have it any other way?" said McManus.

"Cops who need to worry about whether the slightest mishap — a minor misunderstanding that escalates to violence of any sort — might result in criminal charges and a prison term are not cops who are going to put the public’s interests first."

Further, he writes that there were nearly a quarter million misdemeanor arrests in the city in 2013, and none turned into a case like Garner's.

"So much for the 'out of control' cop trope," McManus said. "So much for the notion that everyday citizens — or even criminals with the presence of mind to keep their hands to themselves — have something to fear from the NYPD."

But while many in New York and across the nation will seek to profit from the tragedy, McManus said it all would not have happened had Garner made different decisions.

"He was a victim of himself," he concluded. "It’s just that simple."

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Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson made bad decisions that eventually cost them their lives, and grand jury members in each case were right not to indict the officers whose fatal force resulted in their deaths, the New York Post says in an op-ed.
Eric Garner, chokehold, grand jury, police, michael brown
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2014-05-04
Thursday, 04 December 2014 10:05 AM
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