Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Eric Garner Incident: The Convergence of Bad Decisions, Bad Attitudes and Yes, Even Bad Laws

Step 1 in getting justice for Eric Garner: Boo the hearse-chasing assclown Al Sharpton off the stage...David Burge Tweet

I have to admit, the decision of this grand jury has me scratching my head. They decided there was "no reasonable cause" to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. I've watched the video several times including longer versions that most networks failed to air. Perhaps the grand jury also viewed other footage. I don't know. But the video I viewed showed me the following:

  • Garner did not initially resist the police officers. He did when they proceeded to try to arrest him.
  • The officers were confronted with a very large man which explains whey it took five officers to try to subdue Garner. This is certainly not unusual even if you are a casual observer of any of the reality cop shows. In addition, there were 228,000 misdemeanor arrests in NYC in 2013 alone. You can bet that many of these also resulted in resistance and several police officers needed to subdue the subject. To my knowledge, none of those resulted in the death of the subject.
  • In this case, there was also a black NYPD Sgt. who appears to have supervised the incident.
  • I don't know if was chokehold or headlock. He did yell out that he could not breath. He did that on several occasions as the video clearly shows and the police backed up to give him some breathing room.
  • After several minutes, a female EMT officer arrives . Prior to the EMT's arrival, I did not observe any medical assistance given to Garner. She checks his carotid area to see if he had a pulse. According to the police at the scene, he was breathing. Nevertheless, allow me for a moment to rely on my military medic experience. In my opinion, the EMT should have arrived sooner and checked to make sure his airway was clear. At least on the video I watched, I did not observe the EMT doing that. In addition, since he complained about not being able to breath earlier, oxygen should have been administered if his airway was clear. Even as he was placed on the litter, I did not see any O2 used although we don't know what they did in the ambulance. He died in the hospital hours later.
  • The medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide. Garner suffered from a range of health issues including asthma.
That's essentially what we now know. It's also why it's imperative the findings of the grand jury should be made available to the public as in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson.

But what I do know is this. It appears there was a convergence of bad decisions, bad attitudes and even bad laws.

Like Michael Brown before him, the decision by Eric Garner to resist arrest was a bad one. It's been reported he had a history of previous arrests. In addition, it was also reported the store owners wanted Garner and others like him to stop selling his loose cigarettes in front of their stores. In fact, I believe it was a store owner who initially called the police on Garner. 

I'm concerned about some of the bad decisions made by the NYPD in that incident including not offering him some type of medical assistance sooner. Having said that, the NYPD was placed in a position where they were enforcing a damn stupid law. That's right. Just as Obamacare and some recent acts to do with immigration,  there are bad and stupid laws. Everyday in this country, police walk by people sucking on a doobie. They give it no mind. But have a guy selling single cigarettes and all hell breaks loose. 

Like Michael Brown before him, he appears to have had a bad attitude. Bad attitudes should not result in anyone's death but they do show a pattern of behavior.

If Garner, just like Michael Brown before him, had not resisted arrest, he would be alive today. Nevertheless, it's a sad commentary he's dead also because of a ridiculous law---a law largely based on the government collecting more taxes. And that takes precedence over any common sense.

For me (at least up to this point with what we know), this incident was a convergence of bad decisions, bad attitudes and even bad laws. As stated above, we need to have transparency with regard to how the grand jury came to their decision. What we don't need are the race-hustlers and punks who exploit these incidents largely for publicity and profit. What we do need are more facts and the evidence.