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

Noted. I have no experience on those examples. I do have experience on matters of law enforcement and if the choke hold was trained and approved by the department, then issues that arrise from that would be a liability for the department. Here, it’s expressly banned because it’s proven to be dangerous by the department. Whatever action that officer had from the department is void. We just had a local officer arrested for shooting a man while on duty during a traffic stop because there was no reason for the officer to use such force.

I agree with this sadly. The sources to fight such charges are difficult and the system flawed, but a method is provided in the system none the less.

The underlying acts fill in the gaps of how the individual likely responded to the first approach by an officer and how the officer perceived the individual.

Suppose an officer tells a story about a shooting he claims was in self-defense. If the underlying offense was littering, you might wonder why someone who did nothing more than commit a petty infraction would react so violently to the officer.

If the underlying offense was serial murder, then it is consistent with that level of a crime to believe that the suspect would react with force to being arrested.

Likewise, it is believable that Brown, who pushed an old lady down and robbed a convenience store, would be more hostile than Garner, who simply sold bootleg cigarettes.

Are you saying that the arrest was unlawful? I don’t know all of the details, but I haven’t heard any evidence that those cops didn’t have PC for the arrest. All of our digressions (mine included) were simply talking about a hypothetical unlawful arrest. I wasn’t talking about a situation in which a person believes (or knows) that he is innocent but the officer is asserting that he witnessed the person committing a crime. That is still a lawful arrest.

Are you saying that he would have a hard time beating the bootleg cigarette rap, even if he was innocent? I would agree with that.

But if you are saying that Garner would have a hard time proving excessive force during his arrest, I disagree. Civil rights lawyers are swarming sharks ready to take on those types of cases. Wouldn’t cost him a dime, either.

No, there are reasons why doing so is stupid. Also, very often it is smart to resist someone more powerful than you.

In the case of resisting a police officer, even in an place where resistance against unlawful arrest is legal (not addressing ridiculous hypotheticals), is that if you are wrong and the arrest is lawful, you will be getting in trouble on top of possibly being injured. Depending on one’s situation, getting in that kind of legal trouble is even worse than being injured.

Do you think most people know what constitutes an illegal arrest?

I’m not a legal expert, but differing jurisdictions have different definitions of what defines an action as an arrest (we had a thread about it here a few years ago). There are differences between a Terry stop, a detainment, an arrest, etc. I doubt any places would have you being defined as being arrested if a racist cop picked you up for being black, “booted” you, and dropped you off on the other side of town. Do you really believe one would be getting in trouble for resisting arrest in the hypothetical you gave me? Examples like that are silly and a law saying one can’t resist arrest in any circumstance is not going to result in one being charged in a situation like that, so I don’t see the relevance in posting it.

In your example with the racist cop, how would whether or not there was a law saying you could resist an unlawful arrest change the decision you would make to run? You realize that either way the cop knows he is doing something highly illegal and is going to do his best at getting away with it, right? I’m really curious what difference that law would make in that hypothetical.

Reward wrongdoing?

  1. He should not have been indicted because the prosecutor knew there was no way to win the case and prove beyond doubt Wilson committed a crime. As has been explained in numerous threads: in cases where there is probable cause, but where the prosecutor knows there is no way to prove guilt beyond a reasonble doubt (and in which they can’t induce a plea bargain) prosecutors simply do not bring charges. Bringing a case to trial that you know you can’t win is an ethical violation, wastes time and money, subjects an innocent-until-proven-guilty person to months of ordeal and furthermore prevents prosection of the defendant if additional evidence that could prove guilt comes to light after the acquital. That’s the logic of the system, and I agree with it.

I don’t want to live in a country where prosecutors are free to put defendants on trial even when they know full well they can’t prove anything. If you think about it for 30 seconds, you’ll realize that it’s not white folks that would be getting the shaft in that system.

No. If a kid runs into a street suddenly and gets hit by a car, the driver can be held blameless without thinking the kid deserved to die. The existance of a victim is not proof of a crime.

Brown didn’t deserve to die. Based on what I know, he was no angel, but not some horrible menace to society. I find it repulsive to think he should die for stealing cigars.
However, he did deserve to be arrested. We can’t just let people steal shit.
Wilson was duly authorized to make said arrest.
Wilson may or may not have used unjustified force in affecting the arrest: I don’t know.
By every legal analysis I’ve read, the evidence is so mixed and contradictory that there was no chance of proving beyond reasonable doubt that Wilson did in fact use unjustified force.
Since he can’t be proved guilty, Wilson should not be indicted.
In the Garner case, IMO there was a real chance that the police could be proved to have used unjustified force, and so they should have been indicted.

I’ve already explained: that has nothing to do with the case, legally. It has everything to do with how people watching the story on TV feel about it, and why they feel differently about Garner. “The legal case” and “how people feel emotionally about what happened” are two very different things.

So, this is in other words like every other case of exercising self-defence?

If you are wrong, and what you did is not “legitimate self-defence” under the laws of your jurisdiction, you will be found guilty of assault (indeed, murder, should your exercise of self-defence lead to you killing someone).

To quote, well, you, “Depending on one’s situation, getting in that kind of legal trouble is even worse than being injured.”

Do you think most people know what, in law, constitutes legitimate self defense? And what does that knowledge have to do with anything?

An arrest for an improper purpose is still an arrest. It just isn’t a legal one.

The argument that a law leads to absurd results that should and would never be enforced is an argument that the law is bad - not an argument that the law is good, as you appear to think.

It is the after the fact effect that matters - that is, what happens in court.

Yes, by providing a legal protection for wrongdoing that other citizens do not have.

Maybe I’m watching a different video than others are. In the videos that I’ve seen (which all seem to be the same one, essentially) the “chokehold” is released as soon as Garner is on the ground and before he claims that he can’t breathe. If someone can link to a video showing him in a chokehold while saying he can’t breathe I’d appreciate a link.

I think that’s just the difference between the nature of being a doctor and being a cop. The underlying point remains valid.

I disagree. Being a doctor means that one moment of inattention can cause someone’s death.

In this situation the cops are presented with a morbidly obese, pushing middle-aged man who probably couldn’t whip one of them in a fight. There were about 10 cops around him. He wasn’t going anywhere. If he pulled a gun, he would have had 10 bullets in his head. If he showed the first sign of aggression, he would have had 10 sides of ass kicking. There was simply no need to apply that level of force without any aggression taking place.

But this officer chose to take him down by cutting off the oxygen to his brain. He chose to continue to apply this force when the dude was on the ground. He chose to continue to apply the force when the guy is gasping for air and stating that he couldn’t breathe.

That is not one single act of negligence, it is a continuous act that IMHO, a reasonable person would have not done and/or stopped doing. Yes 99/100 times a death wouldn’t result, but that’s true of any negligent act. I might drive drunk 1000 times and get home safely. But if on the 1001st time, I kill someone would it be a defense that the 1000 prior times showed that it was an okay thing to do?

I would agree with the doctor analogy if he had feedback from his decisions. I think the analogy would work if the doctor decided to perform heart surgery on a 98 year old man who expressed doubt about doing it but reluctantly agreed, do a more invasive procedure than necessary, then noticed blood gushing everywhere from his cut, but still decided to continue anyways without addressing the blood. That rises above the level of a negligent decision into criminal negligence.

Now, I’m not familiar with police procedure, and after hearing the facts, maybe the officer is not guilty of a crime. I do believe that the video presents probable cause that shows criminal negligence and that there was enough to go to a trial. I could be convinced otherwise, though.

No. Only in extreme cases will resisting arrest be considered self defense.

Yes, I think many more people know when it is okay to use physical force on someone then they know when it is okay to not obey a police officer. And answering a question by asking another isn’t answering.

Self defense can save your life. Resisting arrest (again, ignoring extreme cases) is just going to make your life more difficult. The question you answered my question with has no bearing on my point.

Yeah, an “arrest” is an arrest. I know. I’m obviously talking about something that will most certainly not be defined as an arrest at all. In your hypothetical, what the cop did is something I’m sure that won’t be considered an arrest (legal or not) in any jurisdiction.

I never made an argument that a law would lead to absurd results. I can’t follow what point you’re trying to make here.

You’re not answering my question. You gave me an example of a racist cop booting a black guy for no reason other than being black and dumping him off at the edge of town. The black guy strongly suspects this is what’s going to happen to him because he knows the cop has done this to others and knows he is doing nothing wrong. What was your point in bringing this hypothetical up? What would you do differently depending on what the law is regarding resisting illegal arrests?

What legal protection?

You miss the point. Resisting arrest is like other forms of self-defense in that, if it unjustified, it will get you into legal trouble (as well as possibly injured).

I disagree. Even legal experts can wrangle over what constitutes legitimate self-defence (which also varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction).

Again, the point here is that the fact that the law is difficult and most people are not lawyers isn’t an issue.

Self defense can potentially exacrbate an already bad situation. So can resisting an (ILLEGAL) arrest. Or either can save you from worse consequences.

Which has jack-shit to do with why either should be legal or illegal.

Say it could be proved that a tiny woman would always be more at risk from being harmed if she resists a huge, butish rapist - if she resists, he’ll beat her as well as raping her. Does it therefore follow that her resisting the rape ought to be illegal?

Of course not - that would make no sense, because whether something ought to be illegal isn’t a question of whether it will lead to a good outcome or a bad one.

Cop says “you are under arrest” and claps the cuffs on you.

Exactly why are you insisting that the issue is whether this is “really an arrest”? The real issue, as ought to be obvious, is whether the arrest is a legal one or not.

I made the argument that the law leads to absurd results. You are protesting that those absurd results would never happen in real life. Thus missing the point by a thousand miles (or so).

To demonstrate that the law, as drafted, leads to absurdity. Thus, that it is a bad law.

Irrelevant. The issue is what happens in court afterwards, not what you would do differently.

Citizens will be prosecuted if they defend themselves when you illegally assault them.

First it was a small football team, now it’s grown into a small army. :rolleyes:

Hold on, it’s standard operating procedure for cops to use force to arrest non-complying suspects. The fact that they tried to wrestle him into submission does not show criminal behavior.

No he didn’t. When the cop went to take him down, his arm went under Garner’s arm. You can’t choke a person like that, just wrestle him to the ground. At some point during the struggle that switched, but the view was blocked at that point. And the cop did not continue to apply the choke hold after Garner said he couldn’t breathe. In fact, he let go before that.

Not typically. In that situation there is no way the doctor would be charged with a crime. He would be subject to, at worst, his license being revoked.

It’s not irrelevant. But okay, I’ll play along. What happens in court afterwards?

Are you saying that all illegal arrests are defined as assaults or just in certain cases?

You said, “providing a legal protection.” Being prosecuted for resisting arrest is not a legal protection for police. Can you explain how it is? And you’re wrongly asserting that every case of resisting arrest will result in prosecution.

You’re the one that brought up self defense. Not seeing your point in doing this.

No, it doesn’t. It’s a silly question and has no relevance to this topic. Raping someone is always wrong. Arresting someone usually isn’t, even when the person being arrested thinks it is. That’s the obvious really big difference here.

Of course you are wrong. Whether or not something ought to be illegal is very often dependent on whether or not it will lead to a good outcome or a bad one. Driving with a high BAC. Driving without a seat belt. Yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. I could list examples all day.

Oh give me a freaking break. Is punching a woman multiple times after she is down on the ground and pinned “a completely legitimate exercise of power”? Want any more examples that prove the utter ridiculousness of your nonsensical stance?

Your constant excusing of anything anyone in a law enforcement uniform does has become tiresome and sickening.

Uh, what?

Again, I need to see this alternate video that shows something completely different than all of the other videos that I’ve seen.

Police constantly detain and harass people for exercising their Second Amendment rights. YouTube is full of videos of such encounters.

Conservatives oppose such tactics, but I don’t know of many who advocate physical resistance. That’s why they’re taking videos: to vindicate their rights in a courtroom setting and/or ensure that police don’t take any convenient Fourth Amendment shortcuts.