Lawyer: No indictment for officer in NYC chokehold death

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  • stephaniekym Saratoga Springs, UT
    Dec. 8, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    I think this is an excessive force case and not a racial one. I think that society wants to make it about race, but I think they would have done the same thing if the criminal resisting arrest would have been a white kid with asthma. Race has nothing to do with it. The cop made a bad decision that ended tragically. I can't really judge the cop. #1) I wasn't on the grand jury, #2) I don't get shot at in my job. I don't think that all cops are bad. Most are good and doing what they do for a good reason. But the best way to avoid getting hassled by the police...don't break the law.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2014 4:27 p.m.

    @wrz
    "Perhaps he shoulda said 'gasp!!!'"

    Is this just a joke to you?

    "No rational person would be out on the streets illegally selling 'loosies.' "

    Clearly a desperate person just trying to make enough money to get by (turns out a life in poverty isn't a free ride, unlike what some people would have others believe).

    "Are you talking about that Jackson character and mayor De Blasio??"

    Try a mirror.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 6, 2014 6:32 p.m.

    @Schnee:
    "When your breathing is constricted, you want to make you message short and quick because you're panicked."

    Perhaps he shoulda said 'gasp!!!'

    "No rational person would say anything remotely close to what you recommend."

    No rational person would be out on the streets illegally selling 'loosies.' Especially when they'd been arrested several times for the same thing.

    "So that makes continuing to choke him okay?"

    Continuing to resist and struggle.

    "I wasn't referring to the cops... I was referring to the people arguing that Garner was a liar about breathing issues..."

    If he knew he had asthma and other health conditions, such as overweight, he shoulda put his hands behind his back as directed and argued his case in court.

    "...and the shocking lack of care some people have for his death."

    Are you talking about that Jackson character and mayor De Blasio??

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2014 12:56 p.m.

    @wrz
    "'Hey, you guys, I have asthma, I'm overweight and outa shape... please remove your arm from my neck. I'm having alotta difficulty breathing.'"

    When your breathing is constricted, you want to make you message short and quick because you're panicked. No rational person would say anything remotely close to what you recommend. At most it'd be "I can't breathe, asthma".

    "If he truly couldn't breath it was likely because of his overweight condition together with asthma plus anxiety all affecting lung function."

    So that makes continuing to choke him okay?

    ["It's clear that a lot of racism still exists when a black guy is given the third degree when there's video of him being choked."

    A black female cop in charge of the arrest gave the order to take Garner down. You're saying she's racist?]

    I wasn't referring to the cops... I was referring to the people arguing that Garner was a liar about breathing issues because he could form words (as if Garner should be on trial for his own death) and the shocking lack of care some people have for his death.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 6, 2014 12:57 a.m.

    @Schnee:
    "The tone of his voice suggests it's true..."

    If he truly couldn't breath it was likely because of his overweight condition together with asthma plus anxiety all affecting lung function.

    "...and surely wasn't needed at the point he was saying 'I can't breath' for the officers to do what they wanted to do."

    The cop removed his arm from around the neck once he heard several 'I can't breath,' but proceeded to push his head into the sidewalk to keep control until the handcuffs were in place. Remember, he died in the hospital.

    "You're going to fault a guy for using a shorthand form of 'I'm having a lot of trouble breathing?'

    He coulda been more clear with: 'Hey, you guys, I have asthma, I'm overweight and outa shape... please remove your arm from my neck. I'm having alotta difficulty breathing.'

    "It's clear that a lot of racism still exists when a black guy is given the third degree when there's video of him being choked."

    A black female cop in charge of the arrest gave the order to take Garner down. You're saying she's racist?

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 5, 2014 11:10 a.m.

    @wrz
    "How was the police supposed to know he is telling the truth when he says 'I can't breath?' "

    Have you seen the video? The tone of his voice suggests it's true and even if it's not that kind of chokehold is banned by that police department and surely wasn't needed at the point he was saying "I can't breath" for the officers to do what they wanted to do.

    "And, how is it that he can't breath if he's clearly saying 'I can't breath?'"

    You're going to fault a guy for using a shorthand form of "I'm having a lot of trouble breathing"? It's clear that a lot of racism still exists when a black guy is given the third degree when there's video of him being choked.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Dec. 5, 2014 10:18 a.m.

    Be careful of the "War on Police"!

    Without them, crime/violence will increase, and freedoms will be lost.

    Societies are so gullible.

    Have we become a nation of fools? Be careful of climate change!

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Dec. 4, 2014 9:19 p.m.

    J-TX,

    I agree. I don't think the cop was intentionally trying to take his life. But cops go through a lot of training and this is strictly off limits. I believe charging him with some kind of negligence would have been appropriate. I wasn't entirely convinced of that yesterday, but after learning more about it I feel otherwise. Split second decisions to defend yourself or others are one thing. Doing something you know is off limits is another.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 4, 2014 9:12 p.m.

    @On the other hand:
    "I don't think the police intended to harm Mr. Garner when they took him down, but their failure to listen when he informed them that he couldn't breathe and their failure to get him immediate medical assistance were horrible decisions for which they should be held accountable."

    How was the police supposed to know he is telling the truth when he says 'I can't breath?' Many who the police are trying to subdue will use any excuse for them to back off. And, how is it that he can't breath if he's clearly saying 'I can't breath?'

    I think it was determined that the guy actually died in the hospital... so he must have been breathing all the way there. Perhaps he died of another cause than not being able to breath.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 4, 2014 8:26 p.m.

    Eric Garner's death was caused in significant part from his asthma and other health problems. I guess law enforcement should start giving a physical before they try to apprehend.

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    Dec. 4, 2014 2:55 p.m.

    Article quote: "Police union officials and Pantaleo's lawyer have argued that the officer used a takedown move taught by the police department, not a chokehold, because he was resisting arrest and that Garner's poor health was the main reason he died."

    Bingo.

    Watched the video. Multiple times. The guy was clearly not cooperating with the police. Does any sane person here think that the policeman would have walked up to this guy and put the choke hold on him if were obeying the law?....or even if he just complied/didn't resist arrest? What policemen would put a choke move/hold on someone who is being 100% cooperative and UN-resistant? Especially when CAMERAS are present!

    At what point do we, as a society, begin to be responsible for our OWN actions?

    Don't resist arrest. And if you want to fight with the police, put down the Twinkies and get your body in shape. Might be painful to hear, people, but it's called "responsibility".

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    Dec. 4, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    Half Nelson OR choke hold - if it kills you, then it's a difference without a distinction. As for "backing off", if it saves lives wouldn't that make it more of a GOOD idea?

  • Uncle_Fester Niskayuna, NY
    Dec. 4, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    Oh brother, now a half-nelson is a choke hold ... bizarre. Of course then again evidently cops are supposed to now also know a medical history, and read minds and not be suspicious of the dirtbags they arrest when they resist arrest. Ever watch cops? That should tell you all you need to know about how people lie, resist and generally make a nuisance of themselves. Now is a defendant is a minority and acts out the cops are supposed to back off?

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Dec. 4, 2014 7:53 a.m.

    I'm with "Meckofahess" and "On the other hand".

    Given the video, and the clear policy and training AGAINST choke holds, the Grand Jury got this one wrong.

    Yes, he resisted arrest. Yes, he had health issues that exacerbated the physical altercation. Yes, he should have complied, and he would have lived. But the Policeman who applied the choke hold was / is culpable and there should have been a trial. He probably would not have been convicted because of all of the above. But there should have been a trial.

    In Ferguson, the situation was very different.

  • On the other hand Riverdale, MD
    Dec. 3, 2014 9:43 p.m.

    I don't think the police intended to harm Mr. Garner when they took him down, but their failure to listen when he informed them that he couldn't breathe and their failure to get him immediate medical assistance were horrible decisions for which they should be held accountable. If the police are never held accountable, sooner or later they'll find it too convenient to abuse their authority.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 3, 2014 8:16 p.m.

    I have been very supportive of law enforcement in my comments about Ferguson and the trajic death of the young man in Saratoga Springs. However, this NYC case appears to be very different to me. In my opionion (as a medical professional), the police employed excessive force to subdue the young man who died as a result. In that case I believe the grand jury erred and should have indicted the police for excessive force if not out right man-slaugher! We have got to be objective about evidence and admit when the police over-reach in the enforcement of the law. In this case there was video evidence of what happened, that kind of action cannot be tolerated in a civilized society!. The grand jury in Ferguson acted properly, but did NOT in this NYC case!

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    Dec. 3, 2014 7:13 p.m.

    @AST

    The mainstream media will only tell us what they want to tell us, not necessarily the truth. I personally do not trust them, as they have most past the point of simple bias into outright deception.

  • riverofsun St.George, UT
    Dec. 3, 2014 6:57 p.m.

    Any human being having a respiratory emergency..
    Any doctor, any nurse, any paramedic..
    Any respiratory therapist..
    Any parent and family member..
    Anyone teaching human anatomy and physiology...
    Any medical book...
    Understands and will explain to all what happens to a person who cannot breathe.
    That individual will fight, thrash, and plead for air with every inch of strength that they can muster. Our bodies were made to respond to lack of oxygen in this very specific manner.
    Their very last words will be..
    I CANNOT BREATHE!!!!!

  • delasalle Sandy, UT
    Dec. 3, 2014 6:25 p.m.

    Without getting into the specifics of this case or others, there is a problem when people, police officers included, defend death as an appropriate punishment for resisting arrest, challenging authority, mouthing off, loitering, etc.

    I don't at all condone any of these behaviors, and they should be appropriately punished. But based on these cases that are making the news, assuming they indicate some sort of trend, law enforcement needs to learn to relax, count to ten, and attempt to resolve these situations in a less aggressive manner.

    Some will say police officers are required to make split second decisions with limited information, and I agree with that. But the data is clear on this that the vast majority of situations will be resolved peacefully if everybody slows down and even backs off. It's the same logic behind hostage negotiations and even high speed police chases today. Take your time and allow the perpetrator to wear out or give up. Turns out this works in most situations.

  • AST Orangeville, UT
    Dec. 3, 2014 5:46 p.m.

    I've read about this case and watched the video and it doesn't appear quite so clear cut as the media are making it. The dead man had serious health problems due to asthma and obesity and before being arrested engaged in a loud tirade accusing the police of harassing him when he was doing nothing and minding his own business. While allegedly being choked, he continued to yell, "I can't breathe!" again and again, which suggests that he was breathing well enough to speak rather loudly.

    I can't say that the officers involved are innocent, but the way the case has been presented by the press is so one-sided, it's hard to believe that there aren't more facts to be heard. We're left to guess just why the Grand Jury refused to indict these men, but my experience tells me that things are never as simple and clear as we're told in the press and on the internet.

  • Thought not Dogma Hurricane, UT
    Dec. 3, 2014 5:30 p.m.

    I'm deeply concerned about excessive force by the police. That includes using any force too quickly when situations might still be resolved using verbal techniques.

    If Mr. Garner was physically resisting arrest, I can't have much sympathy for him. If he was merely non-compliant, but not physically resisting, the use of any force too quickly would be very troubling.

    At the end of the day, police do have to enforce their orders. And refusal to obey police commands cannot be tolerated. But it is prudent and proper for police to do all they reasonably can to avoid any use of force if verbal methods still hold promise.

    Sadly, by again focusing on the respective races of the officer and victim/suspect, and by trying this case to the Ferguson case in which there is overwhelming evidence of a brutal, violent attack on a police officer by a man who is also suspected of robbing a store, the media undermines any ability to really work for needed change. In Ferguson, the use of force appears to be entirely appropriate. In this case, there are real questions.