The Garner incident. I’m weighing in and really have a hard time fathoming the bad luck everyone concerned had. Garner a thirty time loser with police seemed to work every angle he could to get arrested. It is unfortunate that our society has people like this.
The cops, including the cop behind Garner, Pantelleo, were acting upon store owner complaints of Garner harassing customers and selling cigarettes illegally. Excuse me if I simplify the incident. Police answer the call and evaluate that Garner is not going to be arrested easily, for whatever reason they are reluctant to Taser. They decide on a back-up of officers and what I saw on the video looks to be four competent police officers confronting a giant of a man. Garner was not submitting to the arrest. This is a fairly common scenario. The exception is a suspect that weighs 350 pounds and is very capable of injuring anyone trying to apprehend him.
The only thing in common with the Ferguson event is a very large man, angry and capable of maiming any police officer within reach. Garner does not appear to be aggressive, however he is not compliant. This passiveness is not something taken as permanent and the situation can change in a fraction of a second. The arrest is inevitable. Police don’t just arbitrarily call for back-up. Officers that respond are not happy with officers calling for an assistance without just cause. In this case Garner’s size is enough to speculate the damage he could physically do. I believe they were trying to apprehend him with as little physical harm as possible. That is why they chose the multiple officer arrest procedure.
Police, really desire to go home to their loved ones after a tour of duty. A very rough physical confrontation with an adversary can change that. It is nothing anyone looks forward to. It is evident that Garner was surrounded and would be overcome and handcuffed. I did not see any blows struck and it was mostly all about restraint. I think any cop watching knew Garner was going to be grabbed by the neck by the officer behind him. One officer approached from the front drawing Garner’s attention, the officer behind grabs him for control. Two other officers await until the struggle ensues, it is all about restraint. At this point everything is very professional, taking him down, incapacitating, hand-cuffing, and neutralizing the situation.
The physical contact begins and Garner is saying that he cannot breath, as a doctor said to me, “If he could not breath he would not be talking.” Someone choking in a restaurant gurgles or gasps they do not recite two sentences. Garner falls victim to other physical heart problems, asthma and overweight restrained breathing, compounded by physical exertion, anxiety of the event and chest pressure of being held down. The autopsy revealed that Garner’s tracheal airway did not suffer damage, apparently indicating he was not strangled. Pantalleo is the alleged cause of the death. But, I have not heard anyone say that he was ordered by the police officer supervisor at the scene to not act in the manner that he did in effecting the arrest. That would indicate to me that the supervisor approved of the conduct or would have testified at the Grand Jury that the police officers were acting contrary to instructions.
It is an unfortunate event, we need to be careful what we take away from it. It is only racial in the eyes of a racist. Angered physical contact between human beings, even in a sporting event like football has some traumatic consequences. This is not a sporting event, but foreseeable with the medical problems and not submitting to arrest. Unless there is information I am not privy to, I would agree with the grand jury. There was not any specific intent or negligence just a very unfortunate event.