I've never heard of the fellow, but evidently he was selling cigarettes on Staten Island, New York without paying the tax. The police tried to arrest him and he resisted, and after the arrest was completed, he was dead, from a choke hold applied by one of the officers. No indictment by the grand jury.
A grand jury on Staten Island has decided to not indict a New York Police Department officer in the death of Eric Garner, who was placed in a chokehold and died of a heart attack.This is the first I've heard of the case, and I don't have any other information than what I'm reading right now. Instapundit is all over it, and he has some good observations
Garner, who suffered from asthma, was captured on video telling arresting officers that he couldn’t breathe as Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s arm was around his neck, pushing him face-first toward the sidewalk.
The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, saying compression of the neck and chest with asthma, obesity and hypertensive cardiovascular disease as contributing factors killed Garner.
(1) His initial crime: Selling “looseys” — individual cigarettes — in violation of NYC tax law. When you pass a law, however trivial, you are providing an opportunity for police to use lethal force. That’s why I favor fewer laws, not more.(2) I saw someone on Twitter saying that if you expect a Staten Island grand jury to indict a cop, then you don’t know Staten Island. That may be the case, but it shouldn’t be. If police can’t be accountable for their use of force, then we shouldn’t have police. Fire ‘em all and privatize. We’re not supposed to have titles of nobility in this country.That seems about right to me. I wonder what Al Sharpton will have to say about it? He doesn't have to travel far, it's right in his back yard.
(3) Listening to NPR on the way back from the UT Studio — I taped a segment on this for The Independents on Fox Business tonight — they kept stressing that it was a WHITE officer who had killed a BLACK MAN. You could pretty much hear the capitals in their voices. They’d never stress race that way in other circumstances. And it’s not clear that excessive force by police is especially a racial problem. In Alabama, we had the shooting of a unarmed white 18-year old by a black cop; in Utah, we had the Dillan Taylor shooting, also unarmed, also not prosecuted. Racializing the issue makes it more divisive and less likely to be addressed.