Facing Facts: Would an Eric Garner Jury Have Found Guilt?

I was upset with most of this article, “11 Facts About the Eric Garner Case the Media Won’t Tell You,” even though I appreciate Newsmax and the writer:

Crime Scene

Sources in the mainstream media expressed outrage after a grand jury declined to indict a New York City policeman in the death of Eric Garner, but there are 11 significant facts that many of them have chosen to overlook:

  1. There is no doubt that Garner was resisting an arrest for illegally selling untaxed cigarettes. Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik put it succinctly: “You cannot resist arrest. If Eric Garner did not resist arrest, the outcome of this case would have been very different,” he told Newsmax. “He wouldn’t be dead today.

“Regardless of what the arrest was for, the officers don’t have the ability to say, ‘Well, this is a minor arrest, so we’re just going to ignore you.'”

  1. The video of the July 17 incident clearly shows Garner, an African-American, swatting away the arms of a white officer seeking to take him into custody, telling him: “Don’t touch me!”

So then anything that happens to Garner is on him? Does it not appear that we have an on-the spot-homicide? Did the officer have no responsibility to talk Garner down or to explain to him the consequences of resisting arrest?

I’m sorry but the cop obviously had options to try since he was there talking to the man.

Do we really live in a country where you can be physically assaulted because you don’t think it is right that the police are, to your mind, harassing you?

Other “inconvenient facts” have to do with Garner’s past criminal record. How are they relevant? I don’t think it is right that we simply consign a man to be “fair game” because of such matters.

And what am I to make of this:

Much has been made of the fact that the use of chokeholds by police is prohibited in New York City. But officers reportedly still use them. Between 2009 and mid-2014, the Civilian Complaint Review Board received 1,128 chokehold allegations.

Patrick Lynch, president of the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said: “It was clear that the officer’s intention was to do nothing more than take Mr. Garner into custody as instructed, and that he used the takedown technique that he learned in the academy when Mr. Garner refused.”

The fact that this is considered a defense of the police officer’s actions is amazing. It shows, on its face, that the NYPD disregards its own limited directions that are supposed to protect the safety of the public. The officer broke the prohibition and a person died and that’s all OK because cops break that prohibition all the time. Amazing.

[See also, “Christian Rapper Lecrae Writes about Police.”]

But I have to admit that, reading a couple of the facts on the list makes me wonder if the jury could have convicted the officer on a serious criminal charge.

Garner did not die at the scene of the confrontation. He suffered cardiac arrest in the ambulance taking him to the hospital and was pronounced dead about an hour later.

If this is true then I doubt there would be enough to convict on any kind of manslaughter charge. And if the prosecutor was reasonable and used a “reckless endangerment” charge at trial, I think people would still be outraged. This pressure could easily lead the prosecutor to use a more serious charge but fail to convince a jury.

In general, I think the perception is that, by refusing to try the case, Eric Garner is basically being consigned to the status of unworthy of protection.