Eric Garner, a 43 year-old father of six, is dead. This is a tragedy, regardless of the circumstances. We rightly mourn with his wife and children. They will never see their husband and father again, and that should break everyone’s heart.
When we witness a gut-rending tragedy like this, we want to know who is responsible. Who is to blame for depriving this family of its husband and father? As the facts emerge, it becomes increasingly clear that, as tragic as this situation is, in the end the culpability for Eric Garner’s death rests with Eric Garner.
To put it as simply as possible, if Mr. Garner had not broken the law and then resisted arrest, he would be alive today.
While protesters are trying to make this about race, it must be noted that the police showed up in response to complaints from black business owners. The arrest was ordered by a black officer, and the arrest itself was supervised by a black officer, a female sergeant.
A crackdown on the sale of illegal, untaxed cigarettes - called “loosies” since they are sold in singles rather than in packs - had been ordered just days before Garner’s arrest by the highest ranking black police officer in the NYPD, Philip Banks.
So a black officer ordered the crackdown, black business owners called for the arrest, a black officer ordered the arrest, and a black officer supervised the arrest itself. It’s also worth noting that the 23-member grand jury which refused to indict the arresting officer included nine non-white members. Ask yourself how many of those facts you have heard from any member of the race-obsessed, low-information media.
Garner had been arrested 31 times, and eight of those had been for selling loosies. His rap sheet goes back decades and includes arrests for assault and grand larceny.
At the time of his death, Garner was out on bail after being charged with multiple offenses, including illegal sale of cigarettes, marijuana possession, false impersonation and driving without a license.
So he certainly knew the law, knew he was in violation, and knew doing it again would likely lead to his arrest, a drill he’d been through dozens of times before.
There were 228,000 misdemeanor arrests in New York City in 2013, the last year for which figures are available. All of them put together led to precisely zero deaths.
Garner, all six-foot, three inches and 350 pounds of him, clearly resisted arrest, swatting away the arresting officer’s hands while loudly exclaiming, “Don’t touch me!” After he was taken to the ground, he growled, “This ends here!” That could be taken any number of ways, but in the heat of the moment it certainly could be read reasonably as a declaration that he was going to fight arrest until he was subdued by compelling force.
The patrolman who wrestled Garner to the ground, Daniel Pantaleo, did it by the book, using a takedown maneuver every policeman is taught at the academy. He did not, in fact, use a chokehold, which is defined by the NYPD as “any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.” Now Garner was clearly able to breathe, since that’s the only way he could repeatedly say, “I can’t breathe.”
The autopsy explicitly declares that there was no injury to Garner’s windpipe or to his neck bones. This was a wrestler’s headlock, not a chokehold. (As a sidenote, chokeholds, while contrary to police policy, are not in fact illegal in the state of New York when an officer uses one to restrain a resisting subject. They are not even illegal in New York City, at the insistence of liberal mayor Bill DeBlasio.) Patrolman Pantaleo was not indicted for the simple reason that he did nothing wrong.
Garner’s death likely should be attributed to the fact that he himself suffered from severe asthma, something the arresting officers had no reason to know. According to Garner’s friends, his asthma was severe enough that he was forced to quit his job as horticulturist for the city. He wheezed when he talked and could not walk so much as a city block without having to stop to rest. Garner “couldn’t breathe” because of his asthma, not because of a chokehold.
In addition, he suffered from heart disease, advanced diabetes, hypertension, obesity and sleep apnea. Contrary to public perception, he did not die on site, nor did he die of asphyxiation. He suffered cardiac arrest in the ambulance and was declared dead about an hour later at the hospital.
So it turns out that almost everything bleated out by the race-mongers and the low-information media has turned out to be wrong. As the wisest man who ever lived wrote 3000 years ago, “The one who states his case first seems right until the other comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17).
Eric Garner and Michael Brown both fought the law, and the law won. In the end, they have no one to blame but themselves.
New York Post columnist Bob McMcanus concluded his column on Eric Garner this way:
“There are many New Yorkers — politicians, activists, trial lawyers, all the usual suspects — who will now seek to profit from a tragedy that wouldn’t have happened had Eric Garner made a different decision.
“He was a victim of himself. It’s just that simple.”