#BlackLivesMatter

Oh, hey. It’s been a banner week for cops killing unarmed black people. First a grand jury in Missouri refused to indict Darren Wilson, who shot and killed an unarmed kid last summer from 150 feet away, and yesterday a New York grand jury refused to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who killed an unarmed Eric Garner on Staten Island.

Let’s not forget the 12 year-old who was “open-carrying” a pellet gun, who was shot by a cop in Cleveland before he could so much as say, “stop” or “hands up”.

Unlike the case of Michael Brown, which raised much uncertainty due to the he said / they said nature of the evidence, the homicide of Eric Garner was captured on video.

Here it is.

I heard some people on the radio Wednesday talking about how Garner had a long rap sheet.

So?

Garner was a city employee – he was a horticulturalist for the city. His rap sheet wasn’t for anything violent. It was for selling loose cigarettes and vehicle and traffic law issues. He was married with 6 kids. He was a man. He was a human being. He wasn’t a thug or any other epithet you can muster.

Garner was arrested while standing on a sidewalk. Seriously, that’s something you get arrested for? That’s not a ticket? Anyhow, Garner was standing on the sidewalk when police approached him, and he said, “I was just minding my own business. Every time you see me you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today!” After the cops tried to subdue Garner, and after he told the cop holding him in an illegal chokehold that he couldn’t breathe, Garner died.

Died. He died because he was standing on a sidewalk, and cops thought he might be selling loose cigarettes.

The video shows the whole thing.

How about now? Now is it ok with you if black people are angry and upset? Tell me more about how black people are supposed to trust and cooperate with law enforcement. Don’t try and change the subject to “black on black crime” this time – it was irrelevant then, and it’s irrelevant now. This isn’t about a neighborhood beef – this is about violence taking a life under color of law; this is a fundamental civil rights issue.

You want to go on Facebook or elsewhere and bitch about how racism is over, or how there was no racism before Kenyan Muslim Usurper n0bummer got into office?

Here are white people pointing assault rifles at federal agents. None of them went to jail, no one was arrested, no one was shot and killed on sight.

Now, I don’t know whether the cops in New York intended to kill – much less harm – Eric Garner, but that’s what happened. Cops are allowed to use reasonable force to do what they need to do – protect themselves, protect others, or subdue and arrest a suspect. Was the chokehold in this instance “reasonable force”? Could some other method have been employed to subdue and arrest this man who was standing on the sidewalk? This is why we have trials. But if a grand jury doesn’t bring an indictment, you won’t have a criminal proceeding.

And even when you do have a criminal proceeding against a cop who needlessly kicked a handcuffed, prone suspect repeatedly in the head, the cop gets away with a slap on the wrist. In Buffalo.

Should Garner have simply gone with the cops and not resisted? Sure, that would have been swell, too. But he resisted, so the police had the right to use reasonable force to arrest him. They did not have the right to end his life, however.

Don’t touch me, please. I can’t breathe.

A trial. That’s all that was on the table – arresting the officer and requiring that he answer for this homicide. Grand juries – secret law enforcement proceedings – are not where these things should be adjudicated.

There’s some consolation in the fact that the Justice Department is looking into this case, and the family will bring a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the cop and the city. But none of this can undo something that never should have happened.

Here’s the kicker – unlike high school graduate Michael Brown, who had enrolled in college – Garner couldn’t be accused of being violent or belligerent. In fact, just moments before he was killed, he had broken up a fight. He was a peacemaker. (By the way, even if it’s true that Michael Brown had cursed at a cop, it’s not a crime to curse at a cop.) From the Daily News,

But Esaw Garner and other family members said it was a trumped up claim.

“They’re covering their asses, he was breaking up a fight. They harassed and harassed my husband until they killed him,” she said. Garner’s family said he didn’t have any cigarettes on him or in his car at the time of his death.

She said she pleaded with police at the hospital to tell her what happened, but they brushed her off.

“They wouldn’t tell me anything,” she said.

I don’t think the cop on Staten Island was racist, and I don’t think he killed Eric Garner because he was black. But black lives matter, and the system should work for you no matter what your skin color.

The quip about grand juries being able to indict a ham sandwich has to do with the fact that the grand jury process is controlled completely by the District Attorney – if they wanted an indictment, you bet your ass they’d have gotten it. People in New York and Missouri are scratching their heads, wondering why these particular homicides don’t even merit a trial.

Just a trial.

The police are not above the law. A little justice isn’t too much to ask, is it?

26 comments

  • The victim blaming is just…..I don’t even have the right words. The situations where lethal force should be even considered are so narrow in scope..how that bar has been lowered to ‘HOLY CRAP HE MIGHT BE SCREWING NY OUT OF $0.45 IN TAX RECEIPTS CHARGE’ makes no sense.

    I love the comparison to the Fun Time Bundy Ranch too. While guy + assault rilfe = ‘MURICA. Black guy who might have jacked a snickers bar = CALL THE 10TH MOUNTAIN DIVISION HE’S A THREAT.

    I know its been a problem for as long as we’ve all been alive, but I wonder how much it’s excaberated by the militarization of local police in the last 10-ish years.

  • These situations wouldn’t take place if the “victims” followed police directives and didn’t resist. It doesn’t matter whether you’re suspected of jaywalking or murder, once you start resisting police attempts to detain you, things can go wrong. We’ve seen it time and time again. You will NEVER negotiate your way out of a detainment or arrest—if that’s the intention of police. You will never resist your way out of detainment or arrest. Police are not paid to let your will overwhelm theirs.
    If you have an issue with why you are detained or arrested, take it up with the judge. In a perfect world, police would always do things exactly as the Monday morning quarterbacks would prefer, but since we don not live in a perfect world, it’s best to not resist in the first place.

    As far as the 12 yr old with what appeared to be a real gun…I guess some feel the cop should actually be shot in the face first to verify it’s a real gun—after all, what 12 yr old would have a REAL gun in THIS day and age?

    • Resisting arrest gives the police the privilege to use reasonable force to overcome the resistance; not to commit a homicide using a banned maneuver.

      The cops in Cleveland shot the boy almost simultaneously as they exited the car. Perhaps a “hands up” or “drop the gun” would have been a better way to begin that encounter.

      Yet for some reason, that didn’t happen in either case.

    • Ohio is an “open carry” state….walking around in public with a firearm is not grounds for arrest, nor does it fulfill the requirement of reasonable suspicion for an investigative detention. 12-year old Tamir Rice was not breaking any law at the time of his assassination.

      Or, does open carry only apply when it’s a white guy toting a weapon?

  • I keep hearing that Officer Wilson shot Mike Brown from 150′ away. I’ve asked multiple people to substantiate that claim. They can’t. It is patently false. The physical evidence found at the scene refutes it. The spent cartridges refute it (2 found in car, 10 found 125′ from the car). The witness testimony refutes it.

    I’m justifying nothing, but I will condemn the use of lies to get what we feel is justice.

    • Michael Brown died 150′ from Wilson’s car.

      source 1

      source 2

      source 3 (153′ away)

      source 4

      But it doesn’t matter. The point is that no one needed to die that day.

      • Please re-read my comment, as you are arguing a point that isn’t in question.

        Please provide me evidence that Darren Wilson never moved from his vehicle during the entire confrontation, then provide me the evidence that the spent cartridges were tampered with. The spent cartridges were located as follows:

        (2)near vehicle

        (10) 125-150′ from vehicle.

        My source: evidence packet.

        • My apologies. You’re correct. Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown at point-blank range.

          That’s rather worse.

          • Oh good, more lies. Your really building your credibility like this, aren’t you?

            It’s pathetic that you won’t look at any evidence that doesn’t dovetail with your views.

            The outrage over what happened in Staten Island is justifiable.

        • If the vehicle was 150′ from Brown, and shell casings were found 150′ from Brown, those shots were easily at or within “point-blank” range.

          • There were no shells, he wasn’t shot with a shotgun.

            The first blood was found on the street 175′ from the vehicle.

            The third cartridge was found 148′ from the vehicle. The tenth was found 136′.

            Mike Brown’s body was 151′.

            The only plausible explanation ican see is that Wilson was backpedaling while Brown was charging. This would account for the lack of accuracy, a natural human reaction to put distance between themselves and danger, the trajectory of the bullets that struck Brown, etc.

            The autopsy found that all but the first shot (fired in the car from a distance of 6-9 inches) were fired from more than 6 feet.

            No evidence sports you here. As an attorney doesn’t that bother you?

          • Cartridge, casing, who gives a fuck? If I wanted to be a prick, I’d be pointing out your misspellings and that you wrote “sports” when you meant “supports”.

            This debate over facts that we’re having here. Gosh, I wonder what forum would be good to settle them once and for all?

            I don’t know if Brown was “charging” Wilson. That’s what Wilson says, that’s ONE explanation for the autopsy results, but not the only one, but that’s not what at least one witness at the scene says.

            This is why we have trials.

          • A good start to settle this would be for you to read the evidence packet.

          • A good start to settle this would be for you to read the evidence packet.

            Can I personally and single-handedly decide every criminal accusation in this way? I would be drunk with such power.

          • Oh wow, we’ve resorted to trolling, have we?

            Let’s look at the hypocrisy in your statement:
            – you believe that, regardless of legal procedure, that a trial was warranted because of the accounts of “more than one witness” who testified in front of the GJ, yet actually looking at the testimony and seeing how their testimony (which included Brown being shot in the back) conflicted with the forensic evidence would make you “drunk with power”?

            lolz

            You asked, since we’re arguing over facts, what agood forum to settle that would be. Well, we’d need to be on the same page, so isuggested reading through the evidence.

            It is BLATANTLY obvious that you have no desire to learn the facts of the case, you just want to incite the visceral reactions that this case can have, then hide behind a single statement “I don’t believe this had to do with race”. If you can decide what is and what is not reasonable force without having ALL the evidence of the case, would that not make one more drunk with power? You’ve made your opinion based solely on what you believe about the case, rather than empirical, and irrefutable, forensic evidence. When I challenge you to get the facts, apparently I was asking you to become judge and jury? No, I’m asking you to do what every intelligent person should do, MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION.

            The sad part, if you weren’t so enamored with trumping unsubstantiated claims, you’d have a lot more people on your side regarding the Garner case. Unfortunately, rather than just admitting you cried wolf, you keep saying “no really, they’d awould right there, see it? Oh no, it moved over there, now it’s behind you!!!! zOMG you guys, WOLF!!!”.

          • I’m not the one trolling.

            you believe that, regardless of legal procedure, that a trial was warranted because of the accounts of “more than one witness” who testified in front of the GJ, yet actually looking at the testimony and seeing how their testimony (which included Brown being shot in the back) conflicted with the forensic evidence would make you “drunk with power”?

            No. If the way in which society found facts and adjudicated criminal proceedings was to just have me “read the evidence packet”, that would make me drunk with power. “Read the evidence packet” was your solution to the various and sundry inconsistent witness accounts.

            It is BLATANTLY obvious that you have no desire to learn the facts of the case, you just want to incite the visceral reactions that this case can have, then hide behind a single statement “I don’t believe this had to do with race”. If you can decide what is and what is not reasonable force without having ALL the evidence of the case, would that not make one more drunk with power? You’ve made your opinion based solely on what you believe about the case, rather than empirical, and irrefutable, forensic evidence. When I challenge you to get the facts, apparently I was asking you to become judge and jury? No, I’m asking you to do what every intelligent person should do, MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION.

            I’d like for there to have been a trial. An open and adversarial proceeding where Wilson’s story (and everyone else’s) could have been properly vetted and examined.

            The sad part, if you weren’t so enamored with trumping unsubstantiated claims, you’d have a lot more people on your side regarding the Garner case. Unfortunately, rather than just admitting you cried wolf, you keep saying “no really, they’d awould right there, see it? Oh no, it moved over there, now it’s behind you!!!! zOMG you guys, WOLF!!!”.

            Good troll.

    • Nothing has been proven or disproven, upheld or refuted… because THERE HASN’T BEEN A TRIAL AND THERE WON’T BE ONE

      You want to talk about “justice”? Pffft

      • Kinda silly, Eric. Very few self defense cars ever see a trial, are you saying that every single one of those cases have no evidence?

        And yes, plenty of evidence has been provided, it isn’t science’s fault that you don’t like it.

        Bottom line: I’m not sold on the strength of the case against Darren Wilson. Based on the evidence that I’ve reviewed, they had no choice. There was nothing in the evidence packet or witness testimony that credibly contradicted Wilson’s account.

        In the other case, based on the video evidence combined with the autopsy, there should have been an indictment.

        • You don’t need to be sold on the strength of the case against Darren Wilson. The jury would have needed to have been sold. Through a trial. There won’t be a criminal one, but thankfully we’ll have a civil one.

          • I’m assuming you don’t understand the purpose of a grand jury. They are protection for people from having to bear the financial, social, and criminal burden of a trial that in which there isn’t sufficient evidence. They get to hear the evidence from the prosecutor, with no input from the defense attorney. If a grand jury decided that there was no probable cause that a crime was committed (and the evidence was in the packet released to the public), how could we expect a jury to find that a crime was committed beyond any and all reasonable doubt? They’re also there to protect the prosecution from charging a suspect in a biased manner. This way, if more evidence comes to light later, the suspect isn’t protected by double jeopardy laws.

            Also, your ignorance (please don’t take that as a pejorative, it isn’t) of the situation is showing. There could yet be a criminal trial. Two reasons for that: first and foremost, the DoJ has 3 active investigations in this case. Remember the officers involved in the Rodney King trial? Yeah, well, after they were acquitted, they were tried in federal court and 2 of them went to jail based on the federal trial. The same thing could occur here. If the DoJ does not return from their investigation charging Wilson, can we then agree that the evidence didn’t support the claim that aacome occurred? Second, if new evidence comes to light, Darren Wilson is not protected by double jeopardy laws. As it sits, and based on what the grand jury has heard, they made the only decision they could.

          • I’m an attorney and I practiced criminal law for 7 years. I know the purpose of a grand jury, and it’s simply to determine if probable cause exists to indict and try a person suspected of committing a crime. Because it’s a secret, one-sided proceeding that’s under the complete control of law enforcement, the overwhelming majority of cases that get brought before grand juries result in indictment. Just a cursory look at the various witness statements and physical evidence reveals that there was evidence to try Wilson for his excessive and unreasonable use of force, and a material question of fact that a jury should have been able to decide in an open and adversarial proceeding.

            I doubt that the DOJ will do anything here because I don’t necessarily think the shooting was racially motivated.

          • That iI can agree with. But that statement doesn’t exactly work with the premise of this post.

            Also, that’s the problem, cursory looks. Dig deep and ithink your tune may change on this case.

            I have no reason to doubt your choice in profession, but the federal government’s protections of individual civil rights isn’t based solely on race.

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