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

I didn’t need to click on a link to know that JPM settled a criminal case relating to the financial crisis, that was news on every major news outlet. Do you know who has done similar? Several other large banks.

Your claim was that all kinds of people were never prosecuted for fraud. What I asked for was show me evidence of frauds where the government chose not to prosecute an individual on whom they had actionable evidence. You understand there is a difference between being able to prove a corporation violated the law and being able to prove an individual violated the law? An article talking about how the government went after a corporation and fined them heavily is not at all evidence showing the government had actionable evidence on which it could have charged an individual, and failed to do so.

FWIW there are many cases of government going after executives. Do you not see all the insider trader cases the NY U.S. Attorney has prosecuted in the past 5 years? Or the LIBOR rate fixing cases, the government went after individuals there (three men involved were charged with conspiracy.) I see no evidence that when the government has evidence it has failed to go after white collar criminals. Your assumption seems to be that because the government pursued criminal charges against JP Morgan but not individual criminal charges, it was giving the executives of the company a pass.

Instead it simply means they did not have actionable evidence against any of the individuals that they committed individual crimes, corporations have statutes regulating their behavior that can make things criminal, and provably so, even if you cannot prove direct criminality of any of its officers or agents on an individual basis.

Also, in the future don’t link to garbage news source like Rolling Stone. Actually try reading the papers where I got real information on prosecutions of banks and executives (not emotional nonsense a magazine of liars like RS puts out)–the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

No, individuals have a responsibility not to be irrational idiots. Black America already looks pretty bad, with its rampant crime, low income, poor IQ scores and various other ills, I doubt it helps them to be screaming like imbeciles in the street over non-crimes.

Just out of intellectual interest–If I understand what you mean, the default under common law is that you can resist an improper arrest, but most States have removed that right through legislation?

I think a huge percentage of persons who are arrested believe their arrests shouldn’t be lawful, but only a minority of them actually are. I think these laws start with the premise that the vast majority of arrests are lawful, and the rare unlawful arrests are simply procedural errors and not nefarious situations in which the police intend to rape/murder someone as you posit. The State would rather people adjudicate such issues in a court system versus be allowed to fist fight / kill agents of the State in response to the unlawful arrest.

I also don’t think in the United States that an unlawful arrest is automatically a criminal action by the officer. For example an officer has to make a judgment call on some arrests that he has probable cause, but if a magistrate or hearing judge later finds there is no probable cause it just means the charges are dismissed and the officer erred–not that the officer committed a crime. But maybe in those cases the arrest isn’t considered unlawful, just “mistaken”, I dunno.


Frank Serpico’s take:


Yeah, yeah, grandpa, in your day the cops drank thunder and pissed lightning and could take down an entire battalion of ne’er-do-wells with a stern glare and a cry of “All right, ya hooligans, back to the YMCA with ya or I’ll box your ears!”

It is absolutely unlawful. Just like self defense when it is " mistaken"

cops have this thing where when they zoom in and target someone, they become like robots and the person they’re dealing with becomes a nonhuman basically … see it time and time again … this is another perfect example …

this guy is getting snuffed out … you can clearly hear him losing his breath ‘i can’t breathe’, yet they continue pressing down on his torso against the pavement … that idiot 99 was pressing down on his head on the pavement as the guy is losing his breathe … and he admitted he heard him saying that yet he continued … why not actually listen to what he’s trying to tell you and you know, maybe turn him over or sit him up … it’s 5 on 1 …

it seems once they target you, you better hope nothing goes wrong because if it does, you’re dead … they don’t give a shit if you live or die while they’re trying to arrest you … that’s the impression I’ve gotten

This screams, amongst a whole lot else, middle-class entitlement …

Black people, why can’t you get paid the same for the same jobs? Why do you get longer sentences for the same crimes? Why can’t you get hired as much with the same credentials? Why do you get shot by police far more than any disparities in crime stats would indicate? Looks pretty bad, Black America.

The “non-crimes” part of Martin Hyde’s horrible quote is what sticks out to me.

Black Americans have always been victims of “non-crimes”. Slavery was 300 years of a “non-crime”. As was 90 years of Jim Crow. The Montgomery Bus boycott was inspired by a “non-crime”. Voting disenfranchisement was also a non-crime.

History has shown us that when people stay quiet about “non-crimes”, nothing changes. Black people would still be sitting in the back of the bus, stuck in segregated schools, discriminated from employment, and lynched for registering to vote if it hadn’t been for all those “screaming imbeciles” marching in the streets during the 50s and 60s. And society would be all the worse for everyone. Including sanctimonious white guys with a huge chip on their shoulder.

Personally, I don’t care if the cops didn’t break any laws while taking down Garner. The lawfulness of their behavior doesn’t matter to me as much as the corrupted system that keeps allowing it to go unchallenged.

Emphasis added. Do you not see the glaring contradiction in your post, Martin, even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that your first sentence is on point?

The person who ‘resisted arrest’ gets prosecuted … or not.

An illegal arrest is an assault by definition. It is an illegal act, usually involving either physical detention or the threat of physical detention of another, that puts another in justified fear.

What it isn’t, necessarily, is battery (though putting the cuffs on would be).

If the arrest is illegal, it is no different than if I came up to you and threatened you with dire consequences if you did not come with me - or, if I put handcuffs on you against your will.

Can’t you see how that would be potentially tortious or criminal behaviour? Why on earth should someone get legal protection against the other person exercising otherwise-legitimate self-defence against that? :confused:

I don’t know how to put it more clearly. Having a statute define acts of self-protection against illegal assaults by a defined class of persons as “prohibited” is, of course, a “legal protection” for that class.

I never said (and my position does not require) that every single case of resisting arrest result in a prosecution; it is enough that it could.

Agreed - so why remove the possibility of arguing legitimate self-defence in those minority of cases where it is justified?

Other jurisdictions retain the right to self-defence against illegal arrest (mine does, as do some US states) - without any noticable flood of violent encounters between police and public.

One reason, of course, is that very few people actually know the state of the law on this point - including lawyers and judges (see the case law cited by Bricker and myself upthread). The law deals entirely with what happens, after the fact, in Court, when someone has been charged with “resisting arrest”.

Another reason is that issue of whether or not resisting arrest is “justified” is needless to say something that does not arise very often. Most people - the vast majority - who are arrested are arrested for legal, legitimate reasons.

However, if they are not, it makes no sense, and is not “just” to remove the entitlement to self-defence. Someone who is engaged in an illegal arrest is, in fact, committing an assault on another; why can’t that other person, in all justice, legally defend themselves?

The police are a class of the public that has legal duties and protections determined by law- however, those duties and protections only apply when they are themselves engaged in lawful pursuits. When they violate the laws, they ought to be in no better position than anyone else, in my view.

You’re not making any sense here. The example you gave was of a racist cop that goes around “booting” black people for being black and dropping them off across town and manages to keep getting away with it. How are these black people getting prosecuted?

I’ll ask you what I asked you before:

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.

Another good point against the “no resisting an unlawful arrest” law is that there is no remedy against the unlawful arrest. Prosecutors will not prosecute a police officer for an arrest that lacks probable cause, nor could the citizen be successful in a civil suit because of the doctrine of qualified immunity.

Unless it is an egregious violation, the police can continue to unlawfully arrest with impunity.

I’m wondering if there’s a problem in this thread in that is seems we’re throwing around terms like “unlawful arrest”, “false arrest” and “illegal arrest” as if they’re necessarily synonymous legal terms. Any legal experts here know what the differences are? I’d bet that differences exist and that resisting has different consequences depending on which of those arrests took place.

I’d just like to say, as someone who almost never agrees with you, it is a relief that not all conservative Dopers are blindly submissive to the police’s authority. This really should be the one issue that both liberals and conservatives can agree on, so I’m not understanding what this isn’t the case.