Why wasn't the police officer who killed Eric Garner indicted?

Thanks for the info. The term is not permissible in court.

Could the police officers involved have made better choices, too?

Better for themselves, sure. I suspect that Garner would have died even if they had not used the choke. Then, perhaps, the cries for indictment might have been marginally more subdued. Perhaps.


According to the ME, the chokehold contributed to his death. In addition, he might have lived had they not cuffed him face down while putting weight on his back.

You first - Did Garner make the best choice?

Yes, and I explained why.

I don’t want them saying that x specific officer needs to go to jail. That is dangerous to the entire justice system and democracy itself. It’s the abject mob rule that the founders and even the ancient Greeks feared.

I didn’t leave it vague as to why I did, it was explained in detail.

Is it okay to bash Republicans (i.e. “Stupid Republican idea of the day” threads) because of a vocal minority of Republicans that say stupid, objectionable shit? I actually think it is, and I’m a Republican. We need to own the Axis of Stupidity that dominates the public perception of our party, and I accept that. There is no loud voice for my restrained brand of Republican politics and because of that we are (properly) heavily portrayed as being all Tea Party types. That’s reality.

To answer, yes, if a community allows itself to be portrayed in an entirely stupid way in the media they deserve communal condemnation. I mean no one has a problem with bashing “white America” or even American in general for its ills, myself included.

That’s like people that are against gay marriage saying they’re against it because it deprives them of the right to be free from living in a society that allows gay marriage. When these people advocate for systemic changes, great, more power to them. I have no real care about that. But when their talk is dominated by calls for specific prosecutions then they’re subverting the entire criminal justice system and acting with the same mentality as a lynch mob. This thread is actually about a specific cop, and why he must be sent to prison because of BLACK FREEDOM!!! zomg.


Agreed, but you would probably not go on to say that “this means one thing we must do to rectify it is prosecute cops whom prosecutors know they cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt committed a crime”, or to say that “regardless of all that bullshit legalese, these cops need to be in prison.”

MMA refs stop a fight when one side cannot defend themselves, which is a judgment call but will often be relatively shortly into a choke. Blood chokes often do not require more than few moments to render someone unconscious, Judo guys can put someone under in less than 4 seconds (I’ve seen people choked in mid air during a throw land unconscious from the choke, but that’s utilizing part of the uniform itself and not a naked choke.)

Garner didn’t die from being choked out to death, he was put in physical distress by that (i.e. heavy breathing, elevated heart rate etc) and then was finished by positional asphyxia. Unless you crush the trachea or something it’s all but impossible to kill anyone with a 7-8 second blood choke (the maximum duration the officer’s choke could have been applied.)

The best I’ve seen is the officer’s lawyer said that the autopsy showed no structural damage to the neck area.

Below forensic scientist Lawrence Koblinsky is commenting on the findings of the autopsy report. He and other experts have mentioned that the petechiae present was specifically caused by the choke hold.


No, it means he had a lot of police contact. Sure he may have made some bad choices in life but it is just as likely that a police force that was told to target young black males and had a history of stopping and searching them with no cause chose to stop him often.

Most people are breaking minor laws all of the time and it would be trivial to find something to ticket them with. The fact that you can only count a high amount of arrests but cannot provide an extensive conviction record points to that type of police abuse.

This type of abuse is well known from the NYPD, in fact the current mayor made a point of saying he was going to reduce this amount of police harassment as one of his primary election promises.

Here is the actual campaign ad.


You…suspect. I suppose, then, that this means you are under no obligation to support it? Since, after all, it is nothing more than a suspicion.

Your explanation did not adequately cover why it is appropriate to condemn every single black person in America for this.

You implied the protesters weren’t “advocating for systemic changes to try and fix ways in which the justice system as a whole”, and many in fact are. This isn’t mob rule, even if some call for trials for certain individuals.

It makes absolutely no sense. You’re condemning millions of people for the actions of others.

So all black people have a responsibility to “own” bad behavior by other black people? How in the fuck does this make any sense? You’re literally condemning people for their skin color! Because of their skin color, you’re saying that they have some sort of responsibility for actions they have no involvement in. That’s nonsense.

How has the community “allow[ed]” itself to be portrayed in a stupid way? Is this brilliant media so full of truth that if they portray some black people in a poor light, that somehow reflects on the black community as a whole? Was this always true? If newspapers in 1880s Birmingham blamed the poor qualities of black people for some unfortunate event, does that mean that the 1880s Birmingham black community deserves communal condemnation?

This doesn’t help your argument – mass condemnation for the actions of a few is always stupid.

No its not. These protesters aren’t advocating that any groups rights should be restricted.

It’s not “dominated by calls for specific prosecutions”, unless you’re just watching Fox News. It’s dominated by calls to reform policing and the justice system in general.

No to what? That some police officers and departments might be treating black people differently because of their race, or that if they are than the protesters might be correct?

That opinion doesn’t seem to be supported by the ME, but that aside, what the police did was wrong on multiple levels, the choke hold is just one aspect, and particularly egregious, since the police force itself recognizes the danger of the technique.

Of course not. However, nothing he did excuses the excessive force or negligence the police displayed. The police have an obligation to protect and serve all citizens, even the uncooperative petty criminals. Non-compliance doesn’t make a citizen fair game for any amount of force the police deem necessary.

WADR to Dr. Koblinsky, ISTM that he is mistaken. I have been choked out numerous times without petechiae. He attributes the petechiae to the blood choke - I suspect that it came from the positional asphyxia and chest compression.

If there is a case on record of a normal person being killed by a blood choke, I am not aware of it. Chest compression, yes, but not a blood choke. As mentioned, blood chokes have been applied in sport judo for seventy years without a single fatality.

Apart from the blood choke, it does not appear to me that anything else the police did was wrong, in the sense of being illegal or against department policy. Pinning a suspect down to handcuff him is neither illegal, against policy, nor (IMO) wrong. And the police cannot be expected to know that a suspect who is morbidly obese, also has diabetes, severe asthma, sleep apnea, and heart disease, and therefore is going to die if he is subdued after resisting arrest.


Dude, I’d hang out at a friendlier bar!

That is a very specific aspect of the problem of bias - not bias in police choosing to arrest or hassle specific “disfavoured” minorities, but the (allied) probem that when there is a confrontation between a member of the public and the police (and in particular where that member of the public is from one of the “disfavored” minorities) the usually-tight relationships between police and prosecutors results in the pereception of less than full-blooded investigation and evidence gathering (by the police) and prosecution (by prosecutors).

This is a game that the police and prosecutors cannot win - if they prosecute some will claim it is because of political/public pressure, and of the FAIL to preosecute, others will claim bias - there is a built in perception of bias there, on the “quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” principle.

The ‘solution’ chosen up here in Toronto (and I’m the first to note it isn’t fully effective - but it appears better than the alternative) is to in effect contract out the investigation and prosecutorial decision-making concerning police/public violence to a seperate organization - here called the “Special Investigations Unit”. The hope (again, not fully realized) is that, by having a fully seperate organization, the public can be reassured that desicions to investigate and prosecute are made on the proper grounds of evidence and law - not because of ‘public pressure’ on the one hand, and not because of the cozy relationships between cops and prosecutors on the other.

Thing is, Toronto is of course an enormous jurisdiction, with huge numbers of cops and lots of resources. Obviously not every jurisdiction would be able to afford its own police-policing unit. Inthe US, such a thing would probably be best organized at the state or even federal level - I admit I have no idea how practical that would be.

That’s after practice. And white belts buy the first pitcher.


Dr. Koblinsky understands forensic evidence. You don’t. Petechiae in the areas present in Garner are from an increase of pressure in the veins of the head due to reduced venous return from the head. That isn’t going to happen due to the position Garner was in nor from chest compression. It does occur in strangulation cases of course. Not that your determination of the cause of his death makes the actions of the police any more reasonable.

Irrelevant. What took place was not a sporting event and the medical examiner did not say that the choke hold was the only factor involved in Garner’s death. But he did say it was a factor, You know, the guy that has been thoroughly trained to determine these sort of things.

Oh, one of those dojos. How cool!