Eric Garner

The Last Words of Eric Garner

The ultimate political litmus test


Eric Garner's final words may be the ultimate political litmus test:

That's the statement of a man who was being choked figuratively long before he was choked literally. He is asserting his dignity, and then he's being killed for it. Commentators have seen a host of social problems in Garner's death: the impunity of abusive cops, the literally lethal consequences of criminalizing so much nonviolent behavior, the ways the effects of both that impunity and that criminalization fall more heavily on blacks than on whites. And they're right on all those counts. But underlying all that is something more primal and universal. Eric Garner died because he decided to demand what should be the first right of any human being in a decent society: the right to peacefully live your life without being molested.

Or that's how it seems to me, and to vast swaths of Americans across the ideological spectrum. But there are other people out there, crawling through hundreds of comment threads, Facebook debates, and Twitter wars, all asking variations of the same question: Why didn't he just submit?

Some of those people have newspaper columns. Here's Bob McManus in The New York Post:

Eric Garner and Michael Brown had much in common, not the least of which was this: On the last day of their lives, they made bad decisions. Epically bad decisions.

Each broke the law—petty offenses, to be sure, but sufficient to attract the attention of the police.

And then—tragically, stupidly, fatally, inexplicably—each fought the law.

The Post ran that under the headline "Blame only the man who tragically decided to resist." And part of that is true: He did decide to resist. It's right there in his final words. Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I'm tired of it. It stops today.

There lies the litmus test. There are people who think Eric Garner's resistance means that he's to blame for how he died. And then there are those of us who think that just might be the most horrifying possible lesson anyone could draw from this terrible story.

Eric Garner, 1970-2014

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  1. The Onion, as usual, is right on target:…..all,37586/

    1. Brilliant!

    Learn to love Big Brother.

  3. The New York Post may be the most vile American publication in existence.

    1. It’s Fox in print form.

        1. Well, he’s not wrong.

          1. Yes, you both are.

            1. What the fuck is your problem, you tiresome piece of shit?

              1. Aside from you both being wrong?

            2. Actually, The New York Post is owned by the same company that owns Fox News Channel. So yes, quite literally, it *IS* Fox News Channel in print form.

              1. Yes, Metromedia :0)

              2. That makes a lot of sense

      1. So the NY Post slants to the right, but is still better than all of it’s competitors?

        And it has Red Eye and Stossel-like equivalents in print form? Interesting. I might have to check it out.

        1. Fox New Channel has nowhere near the level of quality in journalism that Al Jazeera America or RT have.

          1. I can almost hear the clink of coins going into your pocket courtesy of some sheik as you write that.

      2. PFFFT! Nope, not even close.

    2. Well, aside from the copsucking, they’re much more ideological cousins of Reason than the NYT or the Daily News.

      1. What is copsucking?

  4. This is what happens when you don’t immediately submit, but with extreme ultimate consequences. And what leader seriously wants to change what happens when you don’t submit to their will? None.

  5. I don’t see how there can’t be a finding of wrongdoing when you have the fellow repeatedly telling the officers he couldn’t breathe and they didn’t relinquish. What in the world?

    1. If they let him breathe, they might have gotten hurt. Officer safety.

      Also they weren’t trained to not not let him breathe.

      1. elegantly put.

      2. Officer safety? They outnumbered him and are equipped with items like guns, nightsticks, and SWAT teams on speed dial. I can’t stand right or left wing extremists like you who so easily surrender your freedom to a central authority. The most fundamental right is the right to be left alone and where Garner was peddling loose cigarettes – a clear and present danger to the taxing authority – they had no right to escalate this beyond a warning or citation. Their decision to escalate this to a physical and fatal encounter was completely unjustified and is the mindset where, “When the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to look at every problem like a nail.” Your comment is racist or stupid but probably both.

    2. FYTW!

      1. I mean, even small children have the intuitive sense to let go when someone says ‘I can’t breath.’

        1. Small children obviously do not have the comprehensive, intensive training* all law enforcement officers receive that ensures their expertise and competence in the field.

          *19 weeks at police academy. It only takes 19 fucking weeks for a license to kill.

          1. 19 weeks that are undone after a couple days out on the street.

          2. …You uh…Realize that it can only take 16 weeks to complete the Army’s Boot camp and AIT courses on average, taking in a basic MOS like Infantry. So…To say that 19 weeks, or 5 months and 1 week is a short amount of time is kinda. Well. Really stupid.

            1. You uh … realize that you can lose your life just because someone decided to spend 5 months getting a license to effectively murder you for no good reason?

            2. You uh… realize cops aren’t soldiers? So to say that learning a completely different job shouldn’t take as long as learning to be in the infantry is kinda. Well. Really stupid.

        2. Well, yeah, they do. Maybe common decency isn’t in their procedures manual.

          The general line of bullshit being spouted is that “Well, sometimes criminals claim injury to trick the officers so they can get away, OR WORSE!!!!” Nevermind the fact that the guy was surrounded by six police officers.

          1. Or, if he got away then “so what?”

        3. Those same small children may be carrying around a conspicuously real looking airsoft gun in a public park and deserve to be immediately executed with extreme prejudice.

        4. small children also have the intuitive sense to trust strangers offering candy in the back of their vans.

          deciding not to believe him was not their mistake, after all people lie (in fact the statement “I can’t breath” can’t actually be true). The fault was in the determination to use force in the first place. The law itself, requiring police to arrest people for such a petty crime is at fault here not the police for doing what their job requires.

    3. Bo,

      I watched the video with a co-worker and when Mr. Garner was telling the officers that he couldn’t breathe I turned to herand predicted that police apologists would no doubt point out “If he can talk he can breather” and therefore the officer couldn’t possibly know he was choking Mr. Garner to death.

      When I looked in the comment section I saw my prediction written out (almost verbatim).

      1. Next time I think I’ll proof read my comments before submitting them.


      2. Didn’t Peter King say this? What a scumbag.

        1. Well, if you can think of anything stupid, ignorant and offensive, that IRA bagman has probably said it.

          1. I’m afraid that, because of King’s history with the IRA (and his subsequent hypocrisy about the need to fight terrorism), whenever I see that he’s about to say something, I turn to something else in an effort to free my consciousness from having to be aware of the fact that he exists.

    4. “If he can’t breath, how can he speak?”

      ^ Just an example of something a copsucker said to me about this whole situation.

      1. “If he could breathe, why is he fucking dead?”

        1. To counter that, they usually say something like, “Well, if he’d bothered to take care of himself better, he’d be in better shape and none of this would have happened!”

          I’d love to be joking in poor taste, but this is what I’ve heard people say.

          1. “He was selling cigarettes…now he knows how his customers feel!”

            1. Again counterfly?!? I already know I’m a bad person. You don’t have to remind me by making me laugh at sick jokes.

              1. Hey if we can’t laugh at rampant fatal misuse of authority then what good is it?

          2. Yeah, he might have run a couple blocks before being shot in the back. Five extra minutes of life is totally worth all that exercise.

        2. Another David,

          I actually read individuals blame Mr. Garner’s death on his weight and his “choice” to not be healthy.
          Others blamed his death on his diabetes, which, of course, the officer had no way of knowing about.

          The fact that he had the life choked out of him was never the actual cause.

      2. The absolute worst are those apologists who are trying to rationalize it by saying “it wasn’t a choke hold, it was a headlock.”

        When a headlock is going around the neck and the throat and restricting the ability of someone to breathe, it’s a damn choke hold.

        1. To-may-to, to-mah-to, Mike.

        2. I am saying this not because I am an apologist but because it makes a difference regarding responding to this tragedy. The chokehold did not kill him.

          he was speaking therefore able to breath while in the chokehold. His death was caused by his lungs filling with mucus due to asthma, further complicated by his own weight and that of the officer on top of him (especially while he was prone) compressing his lungs.

          Why is this distinction important? by focusing on the chokehold we are not focused on the problem. The problem is not an incorrect use of force, but the use of force itself. All forcible altercations with police have the potential to be fatal regardless of the “non-lethal” method police use, be it chokehold, taser, nightstick, pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, or good ol’ fashioned hand to hand combat.

          So we must ask why the police initiated a possibly fatal interaction by attempting to arrest Mr. Garner, for such a petty violation of the law.

          1. I think you make a fair point, and perhaps it wasn’t the ‘choke hold’ that killed Mr. Garner. (Sidenote: I believe the coroner did rule cause of death due to compression of the neck and airway) Too often situations like Mr. Garners are glossed over due to technicalities or artificial ambiguity. However, the focus on the choke hold serves as one of a combination of factors to eliminate any ‘gray area’ in this case whatsoever: the entire situation being caught on film, no probable cause existing in that instance, the crime suspected of having been committed being at most a ticketable offense (I believe), the subsequent escalation of force, and most damning the officer engaging in a practice specifically prohibited by his own department due to the risk of unwarranted injury/death. The officers not only overstepped their bounds, but did so without regard for Mr. Garner’s life per their own policies.

            All that said, I do agree that the only way significant change will be affected is with an overhaul of the ideology regarding the escalation of force.

          2. 1) You can speak even when you are unable to breath effectively.
            2) I don’t want the dick-punch of watching the video again to see, but a rear naked choke is actually a strangulation when done correctly, not a true choke, and therefore he could have felt as though he could not breath while he was in fact moving air, but the blood to his brain was being restricted.
            3) In addition we should ask why petty laws are even on the books to begin with.

    5. It’s not just his words, but how he said it that really stands out to me. You can literally hear agony in his voice.

      1. I can’t breathe!

        The last words of Eric Garner and, incidentally, the last words of American Business.

    6. Peter King says he could talk, so he could breathe. Please don’t argue with Peter King, he has the best hair in Congress (which puts him in the running for best world wide!)

    7. Criminal lardass had 31 previous arrests. Criminal lardass assaulted cop when told he was being arrested.

      Criminal lardass claimed he couldn’t breathe, but anyone who’s been in wrestling knows that if you can talk, you can breathe.

      Criminal lardass continued to resist with violence instead of lawyers.

      Criminal lardass’s Twinkie and McDonald’s fueled lardassery created unhealthy and unsafe conditions in his body, exacerbated by his insistence on being a criminal lardass.

      Criminal lardass died of natural causes, because if you’re a criminal lardass who acts like a dumbfuck, you are naturally going to die.

      Good riddance. Saves us a lot of welfare, government medical care, and other expenses.

      1. Fuck you, you amoral statist piece of shit.

        1. I second you Gordo. reason is not the place to lip sync support for police murder.

      2. I’m guessing this is the stormfront acolyte, “American”.

      3. Why is it a crime for one person to sell cigarettes to another person who is willing to buy them?

      4. 31 previous arrests, ZERO convictions. Pretty good sign of police harassment.

        Failure to lick cops’ boots is not “assaulting” them.

        Speaking requires you to have air already in your lungs. It doesn’t mean you’re able to get more air into them.

        Eric Garner never did anything violent, the violence was solely on the part of the killer cops.

        Eric Garner did not die of natural causes. He died of being put in a chokehold and having his chest compressed by killer cops.

  6. Second, and this speaks to the ubiquitous allegation that cops are treated “differently” than ordinary citizens in deadly-force cases: Indeed they are ? and it is the law itself that confers the privilege.

    The law gives cops the benefit of every reasonable doubt in the good-faith performance of their duties ? and who would really have it any other way?

    Cops who need to worry about whether the slightest mishap ? a minor misunderstanding that escalates to violence of any sort ? might result in criminal charges and a prison term are not cops who are going to put the public’s interests first.

    Bob McManus is an absolute fucking scumbag.

    1. Tulpa’s last name is McManus?

    2. Since when do cops put the public’s interests first NOW? I mean, the important thing is that they get home at night, right?

      1. The public is everyone else. Whenever they kill an innocent person, they are serving and protecting everyone else. Everything they do is in the interest of everyone except the people they are interacting with. Basically that means they can do anything they want in the name of the public. It’s the modern equivalent divine right of the king.

        1. Actually, they’d be “all the king’s men.”

        2. Sadly sarcasmic, your Catch-22 like analysis is very accurate.


          “… the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to prevent government ‘from abusing [its] power, or employing it as an instrument of oppression….

          Its purpose was to protect the people from the State, not to ensure that the State protected them from each other.

          Consistent with these principles, our cases have recognized that the Due Process Clauses generally confer no affirmative right to governmental aid, even where such aid may be necessary to secure life, liberty, or property interests of which the government itself may not deprive the individual.”

          Currently sarcasmic it seems much worse, because the trend is for government actors to not only be exempt from accountability when failing to protect us, but also exempt from accountability when they actively do us harm.

          1. the trend is for government actors to not only be exempt from accountability when failing to protect us, but also exempt from accountability when they actively do us harm

            This is why I’m not holding my breath waiting for the SCOTUS decision in the Helen v. North Carolina case (where the guy was stopped for having a brake light out when the law only requires one brake light but the subsequent search was upheld on the grounds that the cop had made a good faith error in stopping the guy for having a brake light out) because the courts seem to be actively helping push the envelope on what government can get away with.

            1. We live in troubling times, Jerryskids.
              Hopefully these cases are sufficient to a) make millions more of our fellow citizens aware of what’s been happening and
              b) motivate a significant number of them to become active to effect positive change.

    3. And high as a kite on his own farts.

    4. Because the current system does such a great job of making sure cops act in the public’s best interest.

      I have no idea who Bob McManus is, but fuck that noise.

    5. The law gives cops the benefit of every reasonable doubt in the good-faith performance of their duties ? and who would really have it any other way?

      Wait, wait, I know this!

      Me. I would really have it any other way.

    6. Sadly, it’s true that “The law gives cops the benefit of every reasonable doubt in the good-faith performance of their duties”.

      And even worse, prosecutors and juries tend to go further and give cops the benefit of every UNreasonable doubt even when NOT “in the good-faith performance of their duties.” The murder of Eric Garner is a perfect example of this.

  7. Excellent Jesse, excellent.

  8. Bob McManus puts anus in McManus. Eric Garner’s skirt was too short, so he should have bent over and took it.

  9. Hey, he was right, it did stop that day.

    1. Damn you. I had to stifle a chuckle at that wildly inappropriate joke.

  10. The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.


  11. Bob McManus sounds like a textbook masochist with a strong men-in-uniform kink.

  12. Someone on another thread claimed Garner came to the police’s attention that day because he broke up a fight. Anyone know if that’s true?

    Because if so, it just adds a whole new level of nut-punch to the whole story.

    1. Yeah, it’s true. I read it when the story first came out.

      1. Christ!

        The poor bastard got choked to death for doing a decent thing.

        Glad I’m at work. I’d start drinking otherwise.

        1. The nearest I could figure from the story at that time, these cops must have fingered him as someone they wanted to get, for some reason that’ll probably never be known. Their att’n was drawn to the disturbance when he broke up the fight, they saw him & decided this was an excuse to kill him. The bit about cigarets was simply a reason given after the fact because he’d previously been charged with illegal cigarette sales, but they had no reason to believe he was selling cigarets at the time in question, and no cigs were found on him. I couldn’t figure out any reason they so quickly went for the kill other than that it’d been decided beforehand.

          1. An appropriate response would be for his family to track down the officers and render them death.

            If the legal system cannot administer justice, then the people must do so directly.

            1. I’m not a violent person per se, but at a certain point, fuck it. It’s not just a few bad apples when shit like this can happen on a bi-weekly basis in this country and the response is ambivalent hand-wringing.

    2. Well there’s the problem. A union infraction on top of the whole cigarette thing.

  13. I have a hard time calling what he did “resisting”. He was verbally protesting. He then waived his hands in the air when the cops went to cuff him. I guess that qualifies as a resistance under the most basic definition. But he wasn’t acting threateningly at any point, either to the police or to anyone else around him. The proper response in that situation is try and calmly talk him down so that he comes peacefully. If that takes a few hours, so be it.

    1. Also, when you start choking someone, they are naturally going to flail around in an attempt to fucking breathe.

    2. Just to be clear: When I used the word resistance, I wasn’t talking about whether or not he was guilty of “resisting arrest” as that’s defined in New York law.

    3. He was, at most, passively resisting (i.e. no cooperating in his own arrest). Active resistance would have involved running away, pushing officers away, etc. He did none of that.

      No one should be subject to lethal force (or even potentially lethal force) for passive resistence.

      And WTF is up with cops and putting feet/knees on people’s necks/heads while detaining them? That would fucking hurt and could only make the situation worse by making the victim desperate or irate.

  14. Cops who need to worry about whether the slightest mishap ? a minor misunderstanding that escalates to violence of any sort ? might result in criminal charges and a prison term are not cops who are going to put the public’s interests first.

    Yes, yes, of course.

    This is the same sort of specious schoolmarm logic which leads them to claim everyone who does not want marijuana smokers locked in cages also wants school children to be forcibly injected with heroin.


    What could possibly lead this dumb bunny to believe cops EVER “put the public’s interests first”?

  15. slightest mishap

    “I didn’t choke my neighbor to death, judge. I had a slight mishap.”

  16. “petty offenses, to be sure”

    Robbery is not a petty offense, selling tax-free cigarettes is.

    Michael Brown committed a robbery, not a “strong-armed” robbery. My understanding of the term “strong-armed” is a bit different than has been repeated endlessly. Journalist are taking the term “strong-armed” literally. A strong-armed robbery is when a heroin addict walks up to little old lady, on her way back from church, and asks her to loan him 20 bucks. There is an implicit threat of violence, not real instantiation of it.

    1. Selling tax-free cigarettes is robbery from the state treasury.
      /runs from interwebz

      1. This is what Tony actually believes!

      2. locking up my valuables in a safe in my own house is robbery from thieves who might want to take them.

    2. Wilson didn’t know about the robbery until after he killed brown. Then he changed his story. So I fail to see how the robbery is at all relevant, since it did not initiate the encounter.

      1. Re: sarcasmic,

        Wilson didn’t know about the robbery until after he killed brown

        The police dispatch transcripts say otherwise.

        1. A police dispatch that Darren Wilson never received until after the fact. His own chief of police told us as much last August.

    3. According to Wilson’s testimony, he did know about the robbery. Upon seeing Michael Brown and his pal walking in the middle of the street, Wilson called for backup. Wilson was trying to engage Brown in roll-down window conversation while the backup arrived.

    4. This. Show me the last time a group of cops ganged up on a person suspected of theft and choked him to death, in public view in broad daylight. Show me the last time they were so fired up about solving a crime with a real victim rather than some bullshit petty victimless “crime.”

    5. Hair splitting bullshit. Brown robbed a store. If that store owner had shot him, he’d have been within his rights to do so, in my book. The law sees it differently. But the law in this day and age is morally bankrupt.

  17. And then?tragically, stupidly, fatally, inexplicably?each fought the law.

    No, you dumb motherfucker, he fought a bunch of power-mad bullies operating under color of law. Don’t confuse law enforcement with Law.

    1. Thin blue line, Warty. Thin blue line.

  18. I’d like to hear McManus say, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m on your side!” with a cop’s arm pinching off his windpipe.

  19. Just to be clear: When I used the word resistance, I wasn’t talking about whether or not he was guilty of “resisting arrest” as that’s defined in New York law.


  20. Soooo, victim blaming after sexual assaults: BAD
    Victim blaming after death by cop: GOOD
    Just want to make sure I got this all straight.

    1. No indictment, therefore no crime, therefore no victim.

      1. Somebody tell “Jackie” at UVA

  21. Do people breaking the law have the right to demand to be left alone?

    Obviously events should never have escalated as they did and the circumstances say much is wrong about how society is ordered but the framing of this article seems way off.

    1. What law was he breaking. He had no cigarettes on him at the time. Even if he did they could be for personal consumption.

      1. Conspiracy to resist arrest.

      2. There were witnesses to him selling the cigarettes. If the issue is so cut and dry why hide the facts?

        1. So what? Why should it be illegal to sell a product – ANY product – to a consenting adult? I don’t care if the man was selling cocaine. The War on Drugs, where that drug happens to be tobacco or any other – is patently absurd.

          1. Why should it be illegal to sell a product – ANY product – to a consenting adult? I don’t care if the man was selling cocaine.

            That would be a better world, but I’m discussing the world we actually live in.

            1. You do realize by this logic you would have to stand up for people beating and torturing escaping slaves, right? After all that was the world they actually lived in.

              1. I’m not a big fan of regulation and taxation, but comparing them to slavery is a bit absurd don’t you think?

                1. “I’m not a big fan of regulation and taxation, but comparing them to slavery is a bit absurd don’t you think?”

                  No, it isn’t actually. It is a matter of degree but not of type.

        2. Eye witness accounts are notoriously unreliable.

          1. Yet they are not nothing, and it’s perfectly reasonable for cops to rely on them in the absence of contradictory evidence.

            1. How is it reasonable. I shouldn’t be able to call anonymously and say “marshal is running a crack house” and the cops be washed of all liability of a no knock raid. If you think that is reasonable I don’t know what else to say.

              1. Why add anonymity, no-knock raids, an a complete wash of all liability to the analysis?

                Let me play:

                If you think multiple-eyewitness testimony from unrelated bystanders with no history of lying or criminal record should be dismissed simply because a career gang member with multiple felonies per year including perjury says he’s innocent I don’t know what else to say.

                1. Marshal.

                  1. Fuck you for trying to justify this even a little.

                  2. How does selling loosies warrant an arrest in the first place? How about a ticket/citation if this BS law needs to be enforced, like most non violent misdemeanors?

                  1. Ayn Random Variation|12.4.14 @ 1:56PM|#

                    1. Fuck you for trying to justify this even a little.

                    Is going through life as a complete fucking idiot working out for you? I considered it too high risk to try but kudos for giving it a shot.

                    1. Oh, Tulpa. It’s cute when you pretend not to be a moron. Have you still managed to keep your belief that you’re intelligent, despite the complete failure of your life? If so, that’s adorable.

                2. Eye witness accounts are useless. People don’t have even decent recall. I watched a program where they film a fake robbery in public and took witness statements. What they “saw” was widely varied even to the point where it is a coin toss who the victim was. Without physical evidence, I would never vote guilty on a jury.

                3. Let’s assume you are right. To hell with “multiple eye whitnesses!” Let’s pretend that the the current Pope, all six cops’ first-through-third-grade teachers, and Garner’s own family followed him around with a sign that says “This dirty bastard is selling smokes that have not been sufficiently taxed!”

                  Look, there are other solutions to violence. They couldn’t frisk him? Have him turn out his pockets? Say, “Listen, buddy, if you can show me you don’t have any smokes on you, I’ll walk away?”

                  Hell, not that I like the violence, but it seems to me that there are other options, even if they did need to arrest him. None of them had tasers? Pepper spray? A choke hold was the only option?

                  He was surrounded by 6 “Officiarri Pax.” The only solution was wrestle him to the ground until he stopped moving? I … find this disturbing. I am not interested in a system where (even multiple offenses of) selling a legal good that hasn’t been sufficiently taxed carries the death penalty. Maybe you are. If you are, we are very different.

          1. I am the lurr!

          2. Selling cigarettes is illegal…the man certainly deserves to be dead for selling them. How could anyone disagree with that? And then he disobeyed the king’s men!

        3. “There were witnesses to him selling the cigarettes.”


          Would you provide a link or otherwise direct me to evidence supportive of this?


          1. There’s too much crap on this topic right now to weed through to find a link.

            1. I understand.
              I’ll look when I have more time.

        4. Were there witnesses to his selling cigarets at that time? Had he just sold out of them when the police arrived (because no cigs were found on him)?

          1. Because a salesman always makes sure to carry a limited stock so that he runs out. Cigs are heavy, don’t you know.

        5. So simply being ACCUSED of selling cigarettes (which he did not even have on his person) means Eric Garner was breaking the law?

      3. “What law was he breaking?”

        Mopery with intent to loiter, with special circumstances (perpetrator was a nigger) that elevated it from a misdemeanor to a capital offense.

        All perfectly legal and aboveboard.

        1. He may also have been conspiring to conspire…

    2. They found no cigarettes on him. So he wasn’t “breaking the law”.

      Please don’t die in a fire. Live through one. Please.


      1. Even if they DID it was still murder and the costumed thug was not prosecuted for the crime.

      2. Let’s presume he had thrown a rock at someone’s car and the cops showed up ten minutes later. You believe they would have to conclude no crime had occurred unless they found him holding another rock?

        1. But he didn’t throw a rock at a car. At the very worst he was taking part in the voluntary trade of cigarettes against the order of the king.

          Get it?

          Crime with a victim vs crime without a victim. One should be a crime, the other shouldn’t.

          And regardless, neither warrants summary execution.

          1. But he didn’t throw a rock at a car. At the very worst he was taking part in the voluntary trade of cigarettes against the order of the king.

            Get it?

            I get that you’re making some point unrelated to mine. Responding to my point by claiming “this shouldn’t have been a law” is an admission he was in fact breaking the law.

            I didn’t claim he deserved to be killed, only objecting to the articles primary point that his demanding to be left alone should have ended police involvement. If police legitimately believed he was breaking even a stupid law that’s an unreasonable expectation.

            1. only objecting to the articles primary point that his demanding to be left alone should have ended police involvement.

              Please quote the portion of the story that says that.

              Do people breaking the law have the right to demand to be left alone?

              When the law is absurd, you’re goddamned right they do. And so does everyone else who has to live under such garbage.

              1. But underlying all that is something more primal and universal. Eric Garner died because he decided to demand what should be the first right of any human being in a decent society: the right to peacefully live your life without being molested.

                1. But underlying all that is something more primal and universal. Eric Garner died because he decided to demand what should be the first right of any human being in a decent society: the right to peacefully live your life without being molested.

                  Which is not the same as:

                  only objecting to the articles primary point that his demanding to be left alone should have ended police involvement.

                  Fuck off Tulpa.

            2. No, he is pointing out that:

              1) Although there is no evidence that he broke that law that day AT ALL, even if he had, it was a minor offense and not one that should have involved taking him down and choking him to death.

              2) This is a stupid law without a victim other that the state’s potential loss of $.25 in taxes for a loose cig.

        2. Except the real world response would be “it’s less than $50 dollars damage, we don’t have to do anything.”

          1. Winner winner chicken dinner. In the rock example, there was no tax lost to the Holy State, and, thus, the police have no incentive to act.

      3. Burst into flames and live!

        That’s kind of catchy.

    3. Marshal,

      I agree with you, but my sympathies on trying to even argue this here.

      Sometimes it feels like anarchist libertarians are just as brain-dead as progressives.

      I would really love for them to set up a island show the world their utopia vision in practice. Why hasn’t that happened already I wonder (not really)?

      1. It’s been done. They don’t have nukes and get invaded by the next door neighbors. Bad form to have freedom nearby as an example. With nukes, it could work.

        1. Would it be too much to ask where, or are you just going to say “Google’s your friend”?

            1. It seems it didn’t exist long enough to conclude anything. Even the Jewish kibbutzes worked in the short term.

              I do honestly wish for a libertarian system (not anarchist though, as I don’t believe that is possible to last). I’m doubtful that even my libertarian minimalist version can ever exist either. If it could, I think it would have by now.

              1. Your idea of “libertarian minimalism” involves being choked to death on a public street in broad daylight on suspicion of having not paid sales tax on individual cigarettes? Jesus, pal, what’s your version of totalitarianism?

                1. Well no, but my version of libertarianism does involve police. I’m against police militarization, abuse, corruption, no-knock raids, invasion of privacy and so on, but I still believe society needs something equivalent to police.

      2. Even a piece of shit can find someone to tongue kiss him.

        1. I guess registering another handle counts as finding someone. Sort of.

    4. I’ve been reading comments and yours is the first to, truly, reflect ‘Reason’.

      Let me try to demand to be left alone if stopped/detained by police.

      The coroner’s report stated the deceased was asthmatic and obese. That these were contributors to death and not, a ‘choke hold’.

      If the Grand Jury had indicted the officer/s for use of excessive force, fine. The did not, fine. Now, it is time to examine the procedures used and will be implemented in the future.

      What we’re witnessing and many are participating in, is the practice of mob rule being the answer for these cases. It is not. I can’t speak for the GJ panel in Ferguson, but I wonder if not a bit of a ‘screw you’ went out to the mob because they would not be intimidated in their deliberations. If due process were respected, perhaps, an indictment would have come down.

  22. The Post ran that under the headline “Blame only the man who tragically decided to resist.” And part of that is true: He did decide to resist.

    Well, the Post is conflating the two incidents in order to justify the actions of the police officers in each. Whereas Michael Brown was identified as a suspect in a strong-arm robbery who subsequently punched a police officer, Garner was NOT committing any crime and did not commit any act of aggression against the police officers that wanted to subdue them. The Post does not want to see that distinction.

      1. Actually, “assert their dominance over him”.

    1. The Post does not want to see that distinction.

      I’m not convinced they simply don’t want to see it. I think they just don’t see it at all.

    2. Whereas Michael Brown was identified as a suspect in a strong-arm robbery who subsequently punched a police officer…..thief.html

      Wilson initially said he didn’t know about the robbery, then changed his story. As for being punched in the face, that face looks punchable, but not punched.

      He lied about, well, everything.

      1. “As for being punched in the face, that face looks punchable, but not punched.”


        1. He’s saying that Darren Wilson looks like a prick who deserves to be punched, but that the photos show no sign that he actually WAS punched.

  23. I want to talk about the word “blame.” Many tragedies and accidents have multiple causes, the combination of which caused the final result. Changing any one factor would change the outcome.

    There are multiple factors here: cigarette taxes, excessive force, Garner’s past arrests, his resistance, severe health issues, and sheer size. (I think his height and bulk contributed to the police response to both him and Michael Brown.) Changing those factors would have changed the outcome: e.g. if he didn’t have severe health issues, that takedown would not have killed him. If NYC didn’t have high cigarette taxes, nobody would smuggle them. If Garner had been 5′ tall and skinny, they probably wouldn’t have piled on him. Etc.

    So it’s a bit loaded to use the word “blame” when talking about any one factor. The Salon types are outraged that libertarians “blame” taxes for his death. Libertarians are outraged that law and order types “blame” resisting arrest for his death. I think both sides are partly right and partly wrong. Yes, these are all factors, and changing one or two of them would change the outcome, but to point that out isn’t really to “blame” the death on that one factor.

    1. Yeah, simple cause and effect where there is a simple cause of something almost never happens in the real world. It’s like when people wonder if some particular weather event was “caused” by climate change. It’s not a real question. Things don’t work that way.

      I’m still happy to blame these fucking pigs for his death though.

    2. The Salon types are outraged that libertarians “blame” taxes for his death.

      No, I blame the pigs that actually killed him.

      Everything else is a contributing factor.

    3. I blame the motherfucker that encircled his neck with his arm and squeezed. I can still complain about petty legislation giving this animal a supposed license to do so.

    4. Anyone who works in industrial or manufacturing is already aware of this. It’s called Root Cause Analysis. There are root causes, and causal factors.

      We can quibble about in which category the tax law belongs, but it certainly belongs in one of them.

    5. Right, but in the law one takes the victim as he finds him. If you illegally batter someone and they are injured more than you anticipated or intended (even from a medical condition – e.g. the “eggshell skull”), you are still fully liable for the consequences of your actions.

      Unless you have a badge, of course.

      1. Devil’s Advocate: OK, but that sort of undercuts the narrative that police are slaughtering people right and left.

      2. “Unless you have a badge, of course.”

        Bingo. If you have a badge, the law doesn’t apply anymore. You get to do whatever you damned well please to any citizen (who will thereafter be deemed a “perp”, regardless of any actual crimes) you see fit.

  24. I haven’t yet seen the video with sound, but I could guess that he was saying something like that. Very upsetting. It’s pretty much what I imagine wanting to say if I were ever to get jacked by the cops on some stupid shit. But they are fucking animals and can’t be reasoned with.

  25. How dare he demand to be left alone! Where does he think he lives? A free country?

  26. Each broke the law?petty offenses, to be sure, but sufficient to attract the attention of the police.

    Um, no. Garner was engaging in simple commerce. Which is something that should not be illegal.

    1. Well, be fair, he did break the law, it’s just that various scumbags have made it illegal to sell your own property without letting the state wet its beak, so it was a law without victims or any kind of moral foundation. And the murderous scumbag pig fuckers who killed the man were actually following the law. This should tell you everything you need to know about the law.

  27. Didn’t the Arab Spring start because of an incident in Tunisia where agents of the government harassed a street vendor who minding his own business and just trying to earn a living?

    Eric Garner’s case reminds me of it. Maybe America needs an Arab Spring to push for greater economic freedom.

    1. It’s times like these I wish gun stores would advertise 50% discounts on blackout pistols next to articles about police brutality.

    2. Sadly, Tunisians who have no firsthand knowledge of freedom value it far more than the average American.

  28. I remember a long time ago when Reason wrote about things other than law enforcement. Boy, those were the good ole days.

    1. That was back when police officers were not as blatant in their abuse of innocent people and were less likely to get away with it.

      1. Seriously?

        I mean, please, just three or four years ago this site, and the articles herein, were worthy of the time it took to read them. No longer.

        Now, 90% of the Reason articles that pop up in my RSS feed bitch about law enforcement malfeasance. ENOUGH! Time to focus the content back to what the original intent was: free minds and free markets.

        1. It is difficult to have a “free mind” when a police choke hold is cutting off your oxygen supply.

        2. I object.

          A few months ago people were complaining because everything was all about millenials. There have also been complaints because things are “all about” immigration, sex trade, homosexuality, asset forfiture, and drugs.

          Reason is responding to current events. Do I agree that they have a tendency to publish 47 articles on the same topic at the same time because of some current event? Sure, they have a tendency to jump all over a single issue for a few days. But that issue changes. Regularly.

      2. *That was back when police officers were not as blatant in their abuse of innocent people and were less likely to get away with it.*

        No, that was probably back when libertarians were more REASONable and figured that constantly siding with scumbag criminals while looking like wild-eyed anarchists was probably a bad PR move. Obviously, this was abandoned at some point…and yet, Libertarians haven’t suddenly taken over the government with this position.

        1. Yes, you have to wonder why that is.

        2. The “scumbag criminals” in this case, and in many others, wore blue uniforms and badges.

    2. I’d really like Reason to focus on theory more. Yelling and screaming is fun, sure, but developing and communicating a convincing libertarian theory to convince the public of a better way (citing empirical evidence backing it up) seems like it would be more useful.

      But if your goal is to just get clicks or create a whining victim ‘community’ then sure by all means, yell and scream away.

      1. If theory is what you are after I recommend the Ludwig Von Mises Institute.

        1. Thanks, I will take a look. I’ve been searching for a good libertarian theory site. I know of, but for some reason have never given it a serious look.

          1. No problem, and they have TONS of free books and podcasts too.

  29. Ok, i’m npt saying it wasn’t excessive force, or that it wasn’t wrong but i’m calling out mistruth’s in reporting because in situations like this one it’s very important.. Now i’m a nurse, and in fact if he couldn’t breathe.. He wouldn’t have been able to say so for one, and for two definately not for that long, no way.

    1. Thank you for pointing that out. I have great respect for nurses and others in the health care field.

      I have a question for you. Is it possible he might have THOUGHT he couldn’t breath and that panic over this might have caused a heart attack?

    2. Is it possible that the arm wrapped around his neck and the lack of oxygen may have made it difficult for him to say, “Excuse me Mister Police Officer. I hate to speak out of turn, but the force you are applying to my neck is making it difficult for me to receive the necessary amount of oxygen.”

      Instead, maybe he just spit out three simple, if not literally accurate, words… I CAN’T BREATHE.

      1. lol, you beat me to it.

    3. My brother has severe asthma. When he is able to use less than 10% of his lung capacity to get Oxygen, he says he cannot breath. Seems pedantic to argue that he can breath a little bit, therefore, he is able to breath.

      Maybe he should have said, “My ability to get sufficient Oxygen has been severely compromised by your choking. I also have several cardiopulmonary conditions that being aggravated by your assault. I am in intense distress because my body is reacting to suffocation conditions. Please let up on my airway.”

      Would that have covered all the bases for you?

    4. Unless you’re an ER, flight, or ICU nurse I don’t care what you have to say about breathing. In EMS we actually care for patients in life threatening emergencies, so we know a thing or two about things like respiratory compromise. You can still speak even when you are not breathing EFFECTIVELY (in other words, insufficient tidal volume or respiratory rate) and ineffective breathing would be enough for a panicked man to say he can’t breath. Not to mention there was probably a large amount of strangulation, which is denying oxygen to the brain which causes a sensation much like choking. So I forgive him for not saying, ‘I can’t breath effectively because I have insufficient tidal volume and my panicked state has increased my respiratory rate!’

  30. In another time, the cop would have been holding a whip instead of a gun. Masta doesnt like being questioned.

  31. Of course, let them walk all over you and do whatever they want to you and they might not kill you…

  32. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do,

  33. This. A thousand times, this.

    Cops expect immediate, unquestioned, servile obedience regardless of the legality of their actions.

    They had no legal grounds to accost a man standing on the sidewalk. They were not in any way acting as police, *under their lawful rights and responsibilities* as law enforcement officers, they were just a street gang with badges, who attacked someone because they wanted to, and escalated the attack when their victim didn’t immediately submit and bend over.

    The cops were just asserting dominance, as you’d see in any group of social primates.

    When cops use their badges to satisfy their sadism, they should be prosecuted like any one else for it, and *further* prosecuted for impersonating police officers. You’re not a police officer when you exceed your lawful authority, and attack people to get your rocks off.

    1. When cops use their badges to satisfy their sadism, they should be prosecuted like any one else for it

      You can’t make your case when you’re dead. That’s why it’s better to actually obey even when police are acting unlawfully and then deal with the situation later.

      The cops were just asserting dominance, as you’d see in any group of social primates.

      And when you respond to their provocation, you are playing right along like any dumb male primate. The intelligent and human thing to do is to play along and then later use the uniquely human institutions of the rule of law and the legal system to assert your dominance over them: have your lawyer sue their pants off, get money from them, and leave a black mark on their record.

      1. Hey! You will be ridiculed, mercilessly for using reason, on REASON.

      2. You’re right, great idea. When the legal system is used by corrupt officials to deny your most basic rights, you should take your case to other officials in the legal system to prosecute those officials. Can’t possibly see how that might not work.

        1. Not to mention the process itself is time consuming and costly for average joe schmoe.

          I mean, it is better than the alternative, but it’s basically saying a free people should just go along with outright abuses until someone else in authority intervenes…which in reality, rarely actually happens.

      3. That would be a reasonable response, if police abuse were an isolated incident rather than a systemic problem that’s protected and supported by the legal system you erroneously think can be used to redress grievances against police.

    2. Nonsense.
      Your cop-hating bile is blinding you to the real problem.
      NYC is not Mayberry and Andy Griffith would be knifed in a second with his easy-going attitude. Yeh, cops are rough and don’t take shite. Do you really think any other way would work in these neighborhoods?
      The problem is the system, not the cops. They are simply doing their job to the best of their ability. Sure, many are a-holes…like the rest of the world. Some are nuts, power-hungry sadists….like the rest of the world.

      but…society at large supports how they do their jobs. It votes in the politicians that have their hands out to the unions that bolster the blue wall. It votes in the politicians that make the asinine regulations that caused the cops to be there in the first place.
      Garner was disobeying the system. The cops are just the agents of the system. Human like the rest of us, doing what they think they are expected to do
      Your anger should be at the system. Fix the system that makes selling loose cigarettes a crime. Fix the system that makes having a joint a crime. Fix the system that says you can’t j-walk, can’t mix recycling in with trash, can’t smoke in a bar. Ya do this and all these issues go away.
      It’s not racism, its not the cops, its the system.
      Reason readers should understand this, but sadly so much anger is directed at the cops. For all you know, chokehold-cop is the nicest guy in the world and is overcome by regret about that day.

  34. Should be but won’t. Do we see anyone in the executive branch of government being held accountable for anything? Anyone in the military? Our dictator-in-office? Any of the SWAT monkeys used by the alphabet soup agencies to harass the citizenry for late taxes or regulatory errors?

    Why should it be different for the cops? The gang protects itself at all levels.

    1. I certainly won’t suggest that the military does as good a job as it could or should. But, it does a decent job of holding service members accountable for unapproved killings.

      Drone operators who kill civilians near a target aren’t punished because that is approved. But when a handful of soldiers/marines kills a bunch of innocent Iraqis/Afghans/etc., they are definitely more likely to be held accountable than cops.

      Aside from that, I agree with the point.

      1. “I certainly won’t suggest that the military does as good a job as it could or should. But, it does a decent job of holding service members accountable for unapproved killings.”

        I wouldn’t go so far as to say that. SOMETIMES the military does a decent job of holding service members accountable for unapproved killings. But it’s proven quite inconsistent in that regard.

        The military certainly has a better track record of holding its own members accountable than many other parts of the government, but that’s such a low bar a toddler could crawl over it.

    2. Why should it be different for the cops?

      Towns are free to decide how they want their police force to work. Want police without weapons? Voters can make that happen. What security staff that is accountable like any other private entity? Replace police patrols with private security. All of these are choices each community can make for itself.

      But fact is that most people are satisfied with their police force as is, and only a small percentage view police brutality as a significant problem.

      1. Funny, I don’t recall EVER being asked on any ballots about the things you suggest.

        Just vote for candidate A for Sheriff or Candidate B and each talks in platitudes about safety and concern for diversity and love for the community, blah, blah, blah. As far as I can see, the police run themselves as a closed organization and your entire point is simply invalid, Mark. These choices are emphatically NOT up to the community.

  35. We’re all venting in vacuum here. If you were actually in that grand jury (which supposedly had 8 black members), set aside your ideology, and viewed the tape in other contexts under instructions, maybe you think different.

    If the chokehold (some have characterized it as headlock) was legal, then the question is whether the cop used too much force or knew about the man’s poor health condition beforehand.

    I worked for and lived with immigrants (people least likely to commit crimes!) and the police were occasionally involved. I was summoned like a beagle because I was the only one who could speak English there. We did what we instructed to do, answered his questions, and nothing happened. People in LA definitely do have issues with zealous code enforcement.

    Personally, I can’t dismiss the notion that Garner would be alive if he simply didn’t resist arrest. We live in a borderline progressive society here, meaning the police will be involved in enforcing laws, even after significant reforms. If you’re not a criminal and nothing happens that triggers a misunderstanding, the chances of you getting shot by police are small.

    1. He would also still be alive if he had been put in prison for life.

      It is pretty clear the choking officer decided he was tired of the talking method, and wanted to get this event over with. So he choked the guy to subdue him.
      Now, if someone else had accidentally killed another person out of laziness or impatience, there would be criminal charges.

    2. If you’re not a criminal and nothing happens that triggers a misunderstanding, the chances of you getting shot by police are small.

      That’s why it’s so important we criminalize more and more innocuous behavior. That way, all killings can be justified.

      1. I’m all for decriminalizing minor offense. In Garner’s case, they should have just written him a ticket or something.

        I don’t think cops arrest people for selling lemonade from stands. Why do they have to arrest people for selling cigs?

    3. Under the law, knowledge of a victim’s physical condition is irrelevant. If a victim takes more damage from your assault than you intended, you’re still fully liable because you still intentionally assaulted him.

  36. The media and the democrats will pay for this in the long run. More and more people are waking up to both of them and abandoning both. Keep printing crap like this and maybe we will start to take our country back from this elitist MSM like YaYa

    1. From what I’ve see, the only media figures who have been supportive of Eric Garner’s murderers have been conservative. Thankfully only a minority of conservative media figures, though. Likewise, the only political figures to support the killer cops have been Republicans.

  37. I have seen a disturbing lack of references to Sonny Curtis of the Crickets. This is really disapointing.

  38. I’m monumentally disappointed your Mother chose life when she had you.

  39. Eric Garner and Michael Brown had much in common, not the least of which was this: On the last day of their lives, they made bad decisions. Epically bad decisions. Each broke the law?petty offenses

    The two cases are not even remotely similar.

    Eric Garner’s offense was indeed a petty, non-violent offense. There was no justification for using violence against him. And officers clearly violated police rules on the use of force against him. His death should be treated as manslaughter.

    Michael Brown, on the other hand, was evidently violent and aggressive. From the evidence, it looks like Wilson’s use of force was both lawful and in agreement with his department’s policies.

  40. And then?tragically, stupidly, fatally, inexplicably?each fought the law.

    If ‘fighting the law’ historically had tragic consequences, the song “I fought the law” never would have been written”.

  41. “Garner had been previously arrested and was out on bail for selling untaxed cigarettes, driving without a license, marijuana possession and false personation. Garner had a criminal record that includes more than 30 arrests dating back to 1980 on charges such as assault, resisting arrest, grand larceny. An official said the charges include multiple incidents in which he was arrested for selling unlicensed cigarettes.”

    Gee, I wonder why they wouldn’t just leave him alone.

    1. Don’t be a fucking idiot. Was he doing any of that when he was murdered? Did they even know any of that when he was murdered? And…could a less than lethal fucking way have been found to arrest him you shit for brains asshole? Jesus christ, get a fucking brain.

    2. First, arrests, not convictions. Or do you make a distinction?

      Second, the 80s were 30 years ago. If you were alive 30 years ago, do you think you should be judged now by your actions then? Or do you think you might be a slightly different person now?

      Third, other than the grand larceny charge, all those charges, including the assault charge, sound like a city prosecutor throwing everything that could stick. “False personation”, really? Ready, here’s “false personation”: “What’s your name, Tim?” “It’s ‘Bob’, officer.” “That’s not what your license says. Book ‘im, Danno.” Marijuana possession? The fucking President was guilty of that numerous times. Driving without a license? I’ve done that when I’ve run out of coffee in the morning. Oh, and untaxed cigarettes? You’re gonna have to choke half the smokers in Maryland to death, because they’ve all given $20 to a friend going to the beach in VA or NC to pick up a few cheap cartons.

      If you’re trying to paint this guy as Bugs Fucking Moran you’re gonna have to come up with something a little stronger.

    3. “Garner had been previously arrested and was out on bail for selling untaxed cigarettes, driving without a license, marijuana possession and false personation. Garner had a criminal record that includes more than 30 arrests dating back to 1980 on charges such as assault, resisting arrest, grand larceny. An official said the charges include multiple incidents in which he was arrested for selling unlicensed cigarettes.”

      So what?

    4. How many of those over 30 arrests resulted in convictions? That would be a grand total of ZERO. All the arrest record proves is that Eric Garner had been a persistent victim of police harassment, which is exactly why he was so exasperated with the badge-wearing street gang on the day they killed him.

  42. I think this article makes an excellent point, and is something that needs to be talked about more. Especially in regards to minority communities.

  43. Have to admit, the posters, here, don’t disappoint. Always good for a laugh.
    All I can say is, if libertarians, of the stripe represented here, ever get any kind of political power, we are going to be done quicker than if the progressives get complete control.

  44. While this won’t be taken seriously, perhaps if people are worried about police brutality, then don’t call them.


    It isn’t like police find a bunch of crimes in progress. Otherwise why would we have 911 call centers all over?

    So maybe the Libertarians should start or join a protest movement, how about “Phones down! Don’t call!”

    Think about it, if that woman in Ferguson hadn’t called for medical assistance with her baby, Wilson wouldn’t have been there to shoot Brown. An unarmed EMT would have been on scene.

    I don’t know how the cops came to be on the scene in New York, but if there were a drastic reduction in calls for the police, there might not have been enough cops available to worry about cigarette laws.

    No calls into the local PD’s and all the politicians can jump up and down exclaim how crime is virtually disappeared in this fine metropolis.

    No calls, shrinking police budgets, less cops.

    Time to reap the rewards of the “crime” dividend.

    Politics, national or otherwise has not been kind to the Libertarian party. This could be the inside track for the Libertarian dream of a majority in both houses of Congress and have the White House too.

    1. If the police ONLY came when they were called it would be a better place. Generally.

      When you have enforcers looking to enforce you have either the Mafia or a police state.

  45. He was resisting arrest, what were the cops supposed to do?

    1. … you are kidding, right?

      I have to assume you are kidding.

      Are you really telling me that anybody who says to the cops “Don’t touch me, get off me” should be killed? Does anybody and everybody who has ever been stopped by police, outnumbered SIX TO ONE, and doesn’t immediately bow and scrape, putting handcuffs on themselves deserve death?

      Again. I have to assume you are kidding.

  46. Just so this is put in perspective, if you or anyone you know ever picked up a carton of cigarettes for a friend who gave you some cash while you were in a low tobacco tax state, you’re guilty of the same crime. And I use the word “crime” strictly in the failing to fork over your extortion payment to the state sense.

  47. The Atlantic has a spot-on article comparing Eric Garner to Cliven Bundy. The article says race was the only difference. There are others (Cliven Bundy had a much bigger operation for example), but Cliven Bundy certainly did resist arrest and he’s treated as a hero.

    1. Nonsense. Atlantic and the rest of the MSM is wed to selling racism non-stop. Don’t believe the hype. They are manipulating us and trying to make us tribalistic instead of nationalistic.

      Bundy was disobeying a law that was iffy at best. Many of his neighbors supported him, so much so that they organized effective resistance that overwhelmed the law enforcement efforts.

      Garner was disobeying a law that was iffy at best. Many of his neighbors could care less, and made no effort to support him that day. Instead they stood back and watched as law enforcement took him down, not even protesting as he struggled to breathe. Did you here anyone on the tape speaking up??

      Race or racism had nothing to do with either. A black bundy or a white Garner and it would have gone down the same way. There are lots of white Garners out there that the press never talks about.

    2. I doubt The Atlantic championed Bundy’s cause, as well as CNN and other outlets. Fox was the only media entity to really crown Bundy a hero.

  48. My husband, Donnie Hall, wrote this today:

    If air is belief, Then I can’t breathe.

    What I believed was slightly polluted yet my lungs drew in perceived progress.

    The winds of change that I’ve been exhaling have been clouding the truth with blindness.
    The air has thickened, the law has slickened, what’s right has been trickened, the air has now sickened, all that I believed.

    If air is truth, Then I can’t breathe
    My air, my truth were far from clean just slightly unjust unfair and partly unseen but…

    My air, my truth Said love & respect with tolerance to acceptance these filters would correct but…

    Ferguson’s air started smoking
    While New York’s was choking.
    It’s “burn this Mother down” provoking. Even comedians don’t be joking, about this air we breathe.

    If air is a lie, then I can’t breathe
    The air of belief, of truth I can’t breathe. If air is reality, then I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe

    The air is too hot to breathe the status quo needs to leave.
    The air must change or my “I have a dream” nation
    will die from polarization asphyxiation!

    People please clear my lungs don’t shoot kids with toy guns. Don’t burn down your own freaking town. Protest, boycott, march and vote. Reveal, speak up, do more than just take note.

    Americans all, near and far it’s time to give our country CPR. Let’s get to work, roll up our sleeves, let’s clear the air so we all can Breathe!

  49. “Where…….John…..Gault??”

  50. verdammt spellcheck

  51. Lets not compare Browns death to Garners. Garners “resistance” was nothing and it was being filmed. There were at least 3 cops there and none of them were in danger. I have no idea how you could sit on the grand jury, watch that video and say everything is ok.

  52. There’s still a lot of misinformation out there about this case. That’s what’s funny to me.

    The cop had interacted with Garner in the past (ie hassled him for selling cigarettes), but on the day in question, they were there because there was a fight – which Garner broke up.

    They DID NOT confront Garner over cigarettes, and they never said they were looking for cigarettes. The people around were confused by the cop’s actions and told them he broke up the fight. The cops still zeroed in on him to harass.

    So, he wasn’t even targeted really for selling illegal cigarettes. That was just the best pretext the cops could come up with after it blew up into a story (or when they killed Garner).

    One of the drive-by trolls tried to claim witnesses reported him selling cigarettes. That certainly did not happen before or during the arrival of the police. They weren’t there for that.

    This was an unlawful arrest no matter how you slice it. Even selling illegal cigarettes is technically only a finable offense. It’s basically a tick (which can be counted as an arrest) and everyone is supposed to move on.

    But here’s a real catch-22 to me. Cops don’t have to say why they are arresting you, yet under NY law a citizen technically has the right to resist an unlawful arrest. How the hell are you supposed to judge that if the asshole hardass thug cop doesn’t tell you what you did wrong?

    Bottom line, this was straight up abuse of power and murder.

  53. PART ONE:

    Our government has three branches. Legislative that’s supposed to create the laws. Judicial that’s supposed to determine if the laws created are constitutional. Executive that’s supposed to carry out the laws.

    The police are the manifestation of the Executive branch administering the laws passed. It is not at their discretion to question those laws while they’re on the job, but simply to uphold them.

    Some of those laws read that if one commits a crime, they may be arrested for it. Others read that if the subject of the arrest refuses, the police may use force. This is what the police are told in their job descriptions. This is why they are given guns, handcuffs, tazers and nightsticks. That’s why they are sent into dangerous areas, confrontational situations, etc. They’re there to uphold the laws.

    In both of the cases where the grand jury didn’t invite, they weren’t looking at race, or force, or even reasoning behind it, but simply this: Was there a crime that was possibly committed (the final say on this lies with the States Attorneys and ultimately with a judge or jury) and wether the officers were trying to arrest the suspects at the time that the suspects resisted arrest. It’s really that simple. In both of these cases the officers were trying to arrest men, both very large men, that were obviously resisting arrest.

  54. PART TWO:

    If you want these situations to stop, change the laws… Either on the petty offenses (although I don’t know that robbery in the case of Michael Brown is a petty offense) or in the power given to police to arrest. Limit them to simply asking the suspects to stop doing what they’re doing and walk away and you won’t have situations like this. Take away their guns, nightstick, tazers and bulletproof vests and send them out in the streets as missionaries and the cases of “police brutality” will almost completely seize… Right along with our sense of security as Americans as the same protestors that were burning down Ferguson will now be free to roam the streets elsewhere. Look at the aftermath there and then at your street. If you want that to come to you… Then keep on advocating for this and one day your wish will come true…

    1. That is a false dichotomy, and stupid one.

      Few people are saying that the only way to end “police brutality” is to turn them into cub scouts. And you know it, you brainless asshat.

      And if you think that it is the police’s job to enforce all laws no matter what you should be screaming your bloody head off about executive action. How many informants do the police let go because it helps them achieve a higher goal? That is their discression, you useless sack carbon.

      Look around, you spineless fool, and tell me that it is the police’s job to enforce ALL laws, regardless or their nature, with Judge Dredd-like extreme prejudice. It happens ALL the time that police let people off with a warning, or are you such a vacuous fucknut that you have never considered a cop saying “I’ll let let you go with a warning, this time, but get your tail light fixed” is EXACTLY what you are saying will be the end of all society.

      Yes. You are right. Let’s change the law. Abzofuckinglootlie.

      But until then, and as long as we have bent-over-the-desk cowards like you around willing to make excuses for MANSLAUGHTER (called so by the coroner who examined the body) simply becuase they are wearing a uniform, I will protest.

      1. Well said and well deserved.

  55. Mr. Garner’s tragic death should be rallying cry of those who are protesting against police brutality. Forget about the thug from Ferguson, here is a man that was seemingly minding his own business and whose only “crime” as far as I know was the pettiest of petty. And yet he was killed for it. Every cop involved in that assault should be tried for murder, but they likely won’t even lose their jobs. In fact, it’s likely the case there won’t even be reprimands.

  56. Reason should put the blame for this fiasco where it belongs, so that you don’t come off supporting the idea that cops should choose which laws to enforce and which not, because that’s called “corruption,” not law enforcement. The cause is some tax hungry politician, so filled with moral imperialism over the sin of smoking (because medicaid funded lung cancer cuts into his limousine budget) that he/she/it wrote a law criminalizing the selling of individual cigarettes. Why don’t you pretend you are journalists and find out who that was. And then pretend you are libertarians and point out that law enforcement has been compounded into terrorism by the draconian laws of the welfare state, not the cops.

    1. Zeitgeist. Reason wants/needs to raise a couple hundred thousand the next few days.

    2. Cigarette taxes are not what caused Eric Garner’s murder. He did not even HAVE any cigarettes the day he was murdered. He was murdered by police because he dared to assert his rights when being harassed by them.

  57. This whole situation is so upsetting. But this editorial made me want to cry. This country was built on resistance. We have so easily given up our freedoms, for more security.

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  59. It is truly terrifying to know that there are people out there who think it is more appropriate for an innocent individual to submit to authority rather than fight for his own life and livelihood. And just as I was writing that last sentence, I realized I used the word “innocent” and that in my mind, the man is innocent, because in my mind, selling cigarettes to willing buyers is not a crime, but then I realized that others will not even see it that way.

    The people who think Garner should not have resisted are the same people who think that because the government says it is illegal to sell “loosies” Garner is therefore not innocent and therefore his resistance is not justified.

    I wonder how many people are asleep in this country. How many people are simply sleepwalking through life, seemingly unaware that they are individuals. When your whole political philosophy requires constant state intervention into every human interaction, then it is necessary to expect people to comply with authority, otherwise you risk having your entire worldview unravel before your eyes.

  60. These super-obese, lethargic, junk-food binge eating, hypertension-predisposed fat asses are so unhealthy they can make themselves pass out at home just by pushing out a turd….. put them in a choke hold, make them sprint down the street, or lay them down and dog-pile on their gut while they’re trying to fight you and they’ll use up whatever oxygen they’ve got in those Swisher-sweet and Kool Menthol-conditioned lungs in just a few seconds.

    With their triple-chin, eight big-mac lunch and bitch-tits compressing their airway and their CHF-afflicted, rugby-ball sized heart beating 20x the norm as they struggle like a whale in a frying pan to breathe, a physiological negative feedback loop ensues as their heart beats faster to circulate the remaining depleted oxygen to feed the adrenaline. The heart beats faster as the oxygen depletes and sooner than later they’ll either have a cardiac arrest or land-drown like a beached fish.

    IMHO if you look at that slob’s unpaid medical record at the local country hospital you’ll probably find hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, morbid obesity, erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular disease etc. These professional voters run-up unbelievable bills at the county hospital costing society more than it takes to try, convict and incarcerate them.

    They’re walking around with pacemakers, organ transplants, stents and shunts etc. that WE paid for while never paying a freaking DIME towards their own self-maintenance.

    1. Some questions that you need to answer or forever shut the fuck up:

      1. Why is it illegal for one man to sell cigarettes to another man who is willing to pay for them? And is such a law a justifiable use of force?

      2. Would you feel any better about this mans death if he were a perfectly healthy man who’s hospital bills were not subsidized by the rest of society?

      3. How is forcing everyone in America to subsidize the healthcare of the morbidly unhealthy any different than say forcing someone to stop selling cigarettes to people who want to buy them?

      That last question should burn at your skull. How can you complain about government forcing you to buy health insurance that subsidizes the healthcare of the unhealthy, yet be okay with the same use of force to stop two people from making a transaction they both are willing to make?

      1. I never said it was ethical for the popo to interfere in a consensual transaction between consenting competent adults.

        1. But you are okay with his death because he is a fat slob and a leach suckling at the government’s huge healthcare tits…

      2. #1 is answered by voters. They voted in the politicians that made such laws, and can vote them out by/or voting in candidates that would repeal this and other such/type of laws.

        #2, as far as any subsidy goes, it is probably the “reason” behind laws referenced in #1.

        The last question is answered by people that all have different ideas on just what exactly the police should do for them, as if they are the final if any arbiter of the “law”. See #1. Even if I agree with your premise and Ogan’s reply.

        1. So voting somehow magically makes it okay to use force to break up a consensual transaction?

          If 51% of voters decide that the state should kill all black people, does that make it okay to kill all black people? I realize this is an absurd proposition, but it is not one without precedent.

          My point here is that voting does not make violence justifiable. The will of the people may well be that they wish to burn witches, but that is not necessarily the right thing to do. This is the flaw in the democratic process.

          The legislative branch is incentivized to make new laws even if new laws are unnecessary or wrong, because they need to get elected. The way to get elected is to satisfy the will of the majority, but satisfying the will of the majority only means that every fear, every outrage and every irrational idea that gains a degree of popularity gets written into law.

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  62. I’m asking any who sympathize with tobacco dependent citizens who get ostracized (ALSO get “sin taxed” at rates ever more cruel and unusual) to “Share” this song if they like it. (We’ve had it posted since 2012.)

  63. Not sure why there isn’t Reason to be nuanced here — First, yes, sin taxes are stupid. Yes, perhaps it is correct to resist if you can. But isn’t is also correct to judge the situation? What is a police officer supposed to do — let him go on selling illegally? He can declare he’s had enough all he wants, but that doesn’t mean that the officers should not do their job.

    I also want to point out that this guy probably would vote for the politicians that create these sin taxes. Not only is a heavy handed government what the average Democrat wants, but they also pass these anti-freedom laws also. On top, these horrible laws are what create an opportunity for criminals like Garner – the black market grows and becomes stronger the more things become illegal or taxed. Not saying that Republicans don’t have their own share of supporting a heavy handed police force.

    But I can’t see anything that a libertarian Cop would have done differently. Yeah, the particular move might have proved fatal, but so could have a lot of other non-leathal measures: rubber bullets, tazer, etc. So I’m not arguing about the actual maneuver — more that the victim got pretty much the only treatment that was left to the cops by his behavior. Which makes the cops right, and him wrong. I’d love to see how a Libertarian cop would behave differently.

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