Saturday, August 2, 2014

Eric Garner, Choke Hold, NYC

Eric Garner died as a result of a choke hold by NYPD.  His crime was selling untaxed cigarettes.  A mayor aid has "infuriated" NYCPD with the following tweet:

RIP Eric Garner. You deserved so much more from our City. We will and we must do better.”


shmi said...

Yes, we must do better.

Anonymous said...

Terrible! Father of six, too!

I read where a college professor is now on probation for walking in the middle of the road.

Anonymous said...

Statement Analysis Blog said...

To All,

I am interested in your feedback on the video. You know my focus is on words, but I would like to hear what you think regarding what your eyes take in

Regular Readers in particular, weigh in, please.


Anonymous said...

That's horrible to watch. He says many times that he can't breathe. I don't think he was out of line with the police. Anyone should be able to express themselves to the police. He wasn't aggressive, cursing. The fellow doing the video, and Eric Garner both state he just broke up a fight. Eric doesn't deny selling cigarettes, but he did say, "I didn't sell nothing to nobody." I did not hear the police accuse him of anything.

I have been in a position where the police took down the wrong information about a traffic accident. They said I was at fault, even after the other driver admitted to backing into me. When the officer went to hand me the ticket, I noticed it was wrong and told him, but he wouldn't change it. I got very heated and argued with him. He called his supervisor and I called my husband,while the guy that backed into me just stayed in his car. I told the supervisor what was going on and he corrected the ticket. I guess if you get rear-ended, the only logical explanation is that the car in back is at fault! Even when both parties involved tell the same story! The supervisor told my husband he was very close to taking me to jail. Seems the truth doesn't matter as much as cowtowing to the police. I din't want that ticket because insurance would go sky high. Also, I called the first officer stupid and suggested he go back to school. Not my best day, but I felt the need to fight for my right to get a corrected ticket!

Back to the killing of Eric Garner. Is it really necessary to use that much force to collect taxes on cigarettes? Why not instead issue him a summons to court? Did they think he was selling heroin? Did they find out later he was selling untaxed cigarettes? Is this a good reason to kill someone? He kept saying HE COULD NOT BREATHE! Where is common sense? Get off of the guy for God's sake!

Buckley said...

The police and Garner argue over the charge. He resists arrest and one officer assaults him by strangulation while others handcuff him. He repeatedly says he cannot breathe and the officer is slow to release him from the chokehold. Other officers see the man videotaping the scene and attempt to physically force him from the scene by getting up in his space. The officers stare down at the subdued man and do not give CPR despite causing harm to him.

John Mc Gowan said...

Hi Peter,

Let me start of with the position of the police officers.

We have to understand that we only have this short clip to go by. We don't know what was said, done, by the victim leading up to this, if anything.

Notice that LE are standing to the side, the ones we can see anyway.

This is a very good position to adopt in situations like this. They are giving him room, and it is none confrontational. Many times we see LE standing directly in front of the alleged suspect, entering their personal space. This is a bad move. Our natural, fight or flight response kicks in. This is, innate in all of us.

Notice when the victim is talking, he has his arms out in front of him, palms up. Often times, when people are relaying the truth, they will adopt this body posture.

I don't know what is said to him, or what he says, its inaudible to me. But we see a shift in his body posture to, hands on hips akimbo. Hands on the hips makes the elbows go wide and make the body seem larger. It is also used as a dominant signal, along with, a mind set of, im ready for this, bring it on. We see it in athletes, etc, when they are squaring up for a challenge. It is also seen when people are fed up with a situation too.

Whomever is filming it, is making matters worse by commenting, and, im sure that LE can her him.

Watch, just before he is taken down. He does whats know as a sweeping gesture with his arms. They go out to the side of him, as if he is sweeping away the situation, he doesn't, in my mind anyway, wants no more to do with the situation, he is saying he has have had enough.

THEN HE IS POUNCED UPON. This is puzzling to me. It looks like there was a camera phone break. What i would like to know, is, why do they take him down?, what was said or done, if anything at all. In my knowledge, he is not threatening them. To me he is just fed up with the whole thing.

Is there missing dialogue, and or aggressive gestures made by him to warrant the arrest.?.

From what i see, and this is only my opinion. The take down is NOT warranted.

Unknown said...

The officer who puts the man in a choke hold is said to be a known aggressive cop who has illegally searched and abused suspects of alleged drug possession.

This attempted arrest is a disgrace. The man is obviously non threatening and is fed up with the constant harrassment from nypd.

Anonymous said...

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"We’ve been in contact with Horry County Police as well as many other agencies regarding this case and the possibility of the remains matching missing persons in their respective jurisdictions," said Gary Davidson, spokesman for the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the remains.
"I’m not willing to say when the contacts took place with Horry County Police or the nature of the discussions," Davidson said.
Horry County police are prohibited from commenting on the report due to a local gag order that's been imposed in the Heather Elvis case.
Local prosecutors and defense attorneys are also not allowed to speak because of the gag order.
Prepared on Tuesday, July 29, the preliminary report from the Volusia County (Fla.) Medical Examiner's Office lists new information about the state the remains were in when they were found.
According to the report, the remains were wrapped in a pink bathrobe, curtains and a homemade Mickey Mouse print bed sheet.

Doty said...

The so-called 'untaxed cigarettes' I read that the victim was selling individual cigarettes. Thus, when the victim purchased the pack, he DID pay all the taxes on it. But then he did not charge additional taxes when he sold them individually.

Sus said...

I find clips difficult to analyze knowing they are a snippet of the full story. For instance I know Eric Garner is a career criminal. I know the person filming this was arrested this weekend and has three prior court cases pending against him. I know if I owned that business Eric Garner and his friend were selling in front of, I'd want the police to get them out of there, move them along, arrest them. I'd want the police to protect myself and my business. In that, I feel the police were doing their duty by arresting Eric Garner. I also know more officers have been sued for illegal arrest in that district than any other New York City district. Relations between police and the public are not good there.

To look at what's obvious in the film, though, Eric Garner resisted arrest. His tone, stance and words displayed that. The officers were justified in taking him down to cuff him. The officer with 99 on his shirt used a chokehold, pushed his face into the sidewalk, and looks like he pushed down on his chest. That was not justified as Chokeholds are banned by the NYPD.

It sounds like from the coroner's report, Eric Garner died of a heart attack caused by stress from lack of oxygen. That makes the chokehold, the face in the sidewalk, and the possible back-pushing the cause. I believe from this clip "officer 99" should be charged voluntary manslaughter. He used a hold he knew could lead to death.

Dacea said...

It took me a few days to have the courage to watch this video. Knowing a man's life was taken in it disturbed me and I was afraid of the emotional fall out. Nevertheless, I watched it and here are my thoughts.

The man does not issue a reliable denial. He claims he didn't sell anything. He does however, seem to feel harassed by the police and mentions repeatedly asking them to leave him alone. There seems to be no reason for the police to detain him while letting the people that were fighting leave.

There was no reason for the police to put him in a choke hold. There was certainly no reason for that many of them to pounce on him and hold him down, especially when he very audibly is struggling for air while telling them he can't breathe. When he was visibly having a serious medical event, what the man operating the phone referred to as a seizure, I never saw anyone administering medical assistance. The officers did not seem to call for assistance or make any effort to save his life when he was in obvious distress.

The man recording was not in the way and they approached him with some anger and aggression in their tone and body language. He was polite and had moved back when asked, but then officer told him he had lost the opportunity to get his bike.

Anonymous said...

I found the statement by the Mayor's aid to be interesting. The aid said, “RIP Eric Garner. You deserved so much more from our City. We will and we must do better.”

What I would expect to hear is a different order; eg. you deserved better, that we must do better and in the future we will. When we talk we move from the past to the present and then to the future since that is the natural progression of time. In this example it is jumbled, "you deserved" - past, "we will" - future to "we must" - present.

It caught my attention as unexpected. I don't have any idea what the significance of the statement is or even if it is significant. Thoughts?


Buckley said...

"Deserved so much better from our city"

On one hand, he is blaming/accepting blame on behalf if the entire city. Are there overly aggressive cops in NYC? Sure. Is it fair to lay blame in the whole city? I don't think so; there are many great cops who would never do this. On the other hand, if there are too many examples of over zealous cops, and it has gone unaddressed, then perhaps there are more to blame than McChokey 99.

On a third hand, he doesn't directly blame all nypd, so any officers that take offense need to chill. Resisting arrest does not warrant the death penalty. If a policeman doesn't think they can both arrest someone and follow policy, time for a new job.

Unknown said...

It's tragic that this man is dead over something as insignificant as selling loose cigarettes.

That being said, I listened closely with headphones, and the victim DOES resist arrest, however not violently. The pile on by the cops, in response to his verbal sparring, is way overkill. This is a perfect example of why it's never a good idea to resist arrest...go peacefully, and fight the charges through the proper channels.

The officer tells him he is "going to be taking him in" for the offense, and he grandstands, and argues with the officers. He doesn't make any aggressive moves toward them, but he does jerk away when they attempt to cuff him.

After he's on the ground, he repeatedly says, "I can't breathe". It's clear to me that he is in real distress. His words are more labored each time he says it, and an ambulance should have been called immediately. However, we must remember, the officers involved didn't have the advantage of listening closely to his words and inflection... they were busy fighting to cuff him.

Also, according to my Uncle who works as a Trooper, officers hear things like this nearly every time they have to forcibly arrest someone. The suspect yells they can't breathe, or their neck/back is injured, or they need their meds, etc. Any tactic to gain the upper hand, and postpone or prevent their arrest.

In this case, both parties could have behaved better, to avoid this senseless death. The victim was bent on making a stand about 'harassment', and the officers weren't about to back down.

(*btw-it's not 'harassment' for officers to arrest people for breaking the law, it's their job!)

Anonymous said...

The suspect was resisting arrest, but was not engaging in violent actions. Certainly the deceased should have complied, and the officers should be held responsible for not reacting more appropriately to both his resistance and his medical needs. The strangle "choke" hold was unethical and banned from use. Between the several police officers who were present, none of them had pepper spray? I would argue that had the police tasered him, with his health condition, it might have also led to his death.

Dacea said...

I disagree that you should just go with them if you aren't breaking the law. No way should the law enforcement have that much power and if we keep giving our power away, they are just going to get worse. Check out what happens when a young man knows his rights:

Anonymous said...

the use of the choke hold... period. the cop should be charged as anyone else would be. he was not acting as an officer of the law as soon as he applied the hold... period.
i think tazers should be banned also due to risk of serious injury and/or death, especially if non-violent crimes such as selling smokes.
does resisting arrest warrant being killed?

Anonymous said...

If you can say, "I can't breathe"--you can breathe. You'd think that experts in statement analysis would know that you need to be able to breathe in order to speak.

Anonymous said...

This might be a decent point if Garner didn't die minutes after saying "I can't breathe."

I can go underwater and make vocal noise, but I still can't inhale oxygen, which is a fairly important part of breathing.