Eric Garner

Rep. Justin Amash Says Eric Garner Killing Was "Clearly Excessive Force." He's Right.

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After a grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against the police officer who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold, leading to his death, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) had this to say on Twitter:

Twitter, Rep. Justin Amash

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It's worth hanging on that first word for just a moment—"clearly." It's not just excessive force. It's clearly excessive force. The clarity of what happened to Garner is important.

There's no ambiguity about what happened at the critical moment: Eric Garner, who was arguing with police but not behaving violently or aggressively, briefly pulls his hand away when an officer grabs it from behind. He is then placed in a chokehold grip and slammed to the ground where he is kept in a chokehold as multiple officers pin him down and press his head into the pavement.

Almost as soon as he's on the ground, he begins to gasp, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe." He says it over and over. So far as we know, they were his last words.

At some point, after he is unceremoniously dumped onto a stretcher and put into an ambulance, he dies.

We know all of this because we can see it, clearly, for ourselves. It's all captured on horrific video, available online for everyone to see.

We also know why Garner died. It was not a heart attack, as the officers involved in the incident initially claimed. It was chest compression and "prone positioning during physical restraint by police"—a homicide, according to the coroner.

The police takedown killed him: by placing him in a chokehold, forcing him down, and pinning him to the ground, and continuing to maintain the chokehold grip as Garner gasped for life.

Youtube

That move—the chokehold that sets up the takedown shown on the video—is prohibited under New York Police Department guidelines, which state that "members of the NYPD will NOT use chokeholds." The guidelines say that the definition of chokehold "shall include, but is not limited to, any pressure to the throat or windpipe which may prevent or hinder breathing to reduce intakes of air."

The manuever was forbidden by the department in 1983, except in cases where an officer's life is in danger, after multiple individuals were asphyxiated while in police custody, according to the New York Daily News. In 1993, it was forbidden entirely.

Finally, we know why the officers were questioning Garner that day. He was believed to be illegally selling loose cigarettes—something he had been convicted of previously. He did not have any on him when he died. 

To believe that what happened to Eric Garner is justifiable, here's what you have to be willing to accept: that a group of police officers placed an unarmed man who was not threatening them in a sustained chokehold, a chokehold that led directly to his death, a chokehold move known to have killed people before and which police have been expressly prohibited from using specifically because it had previously led to the deaths of others, over nothing more than the possibility that he might be selling illegal cigarettes on the street. 

You don't have to be a crusader, an activist, or someone who is worried about a pattern of aggressive policing to be upset about this case. You just have to watch the video and ask yourself whether you're willing to accept that what it shows was okay. 

I don't know what the grand jury saw or heard, or what they were thinking when they reached the conclusion they did. But given the plain evidence, it seems quite clear, as Amash says, that this was excessive force on the part of the police. 

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Watch ReasonTV's interview with Rep. Amash below.

NEXT: The Last Words of Eric Garner

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  1. Amish is just a racist Republican trying to use tragic death of a black man to further his evil ends. Nothing is lower than politicizing someone’s death.

    /Protard talking point.

    1. You know, here’s an idea: this is one of those rare instances where ‘progtards’ and we agree. We disagree over the root cause and what to do, but we agree that what happened was wrong. Let’s maybe tamper down the Team Victory Assaults and try to get everyone focused on the bad guys here, the police and their law and order enablers.

      1. It was being discussed in the other thread how being on the same side on this doesn’t mean there is any common ground. Progressives tend to see this as a racial thing. Libertarians see this as a police state thing. Do you think there are any common solutions to both of those perceived problems? I can’t really think of any.

        1. I think many progressives play the racial angle because they think that’s what will get this sustained attention and resonance. To progressives the Civil Rights movements and its imagery are the Greatest Point in History and so it’s the template for everything. There’s a danger there of turning off people who might be sympathetic but who are tired of the race card being played too casually and there’s a danger of just narrowing the focus at a time when what’s needed is a broader coalition.

          But at least they’re upset about this too. That’s a good thing. And I do think some common solutions can come of this, if only a federal investigation.

          1. It can be both. It can be a racial police state thing. If you think that whites and blacks receive equal treatment from law enforcement officers, you may not have any non-white friends.

            1. I think it’s both, I just think harping on the racial angle might not be the best strategy politically. But I understand they, like us, want to get it out there in front of people. The real concern imo is conservatives. Are they even going to get it out there? When I went to Townhall this morning I say one link about this and no columns. Contrast that with ‘prog’ sites where it’s getting the kind of coverage Reason is giving it.

          2. I do think some common solutions can come of this, if only a federal investigation.

            Really? Under the auspices of Eric “Nation of Cowards” Holder?

            1. I do think we can get a DOJ investigation, and the racial angle is probably actually going to get that faster from this Justice Department now that I think about it. And some good can come of that. Iirc the DOJ has forced several police departments into changing tactics like these (at least on paper, and that’s a start that can be important for several reasons [like bringing suits]).

              1. We’ll see. Under this administration it could just as well result in reparations.

              2. The problem is that the tactics were already banned by the local PD. This is entirely a problem of the leadership holding their underlings accountable.

                And no amount of Federal interference is really going to fix that. It will just be one more batch of paper requirements to be given lip service to while being ignored in practice.

                It’s going to take a wholesale replacement of the officer corps at the rank of captain and above to make this change.

                1. So if the officer is indicted or better yet convicted of federal civil rights charge that wouldn’t be a good thing?

                  Look, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Just having the feds look into the department does at least some good, keeping the pd’s on their toes some.

                  1. Just having the feds look into the department does at least some good, keeping the pd’s on their toes some.

                    I think the only thing it will motivate them to do is being on the lookout for cell phone cameras to smash to keep outsiders from getting in their shit…. which is a bad.

                    Absent a wholesale change out of leadership the fixes won’t work at all. I’m not making the perfect the enemy of the good so much as making the adequate the enemy of the ineffective.

                2. This is entirely a problem of the leadership holding their underlings accountable.

                  As long as we say this is an entirely a problem of something specific to this case, the Libertarian argument is gone.

                  The problem is that we have criminalized so many activities that even when we think the activity is relatively benign, we turn it into a violent act since we must use violence to counteract it. Tucille’s article today hit the nail on the head.

          3. I think many progressives play the racial angle because they think that’s what will get this sustained attention and resonance.

            I disagree. With each year, people are getting tired of argumentum ad racialism. It doesn’t resonate very much at all.

            What it does do is provide an unsolvable and permanent excuse. Because racism cannot be ended. It’s an accusation that is almost unfalsifiable. My company has no black employees. Is it because we are racist? Or is it because our hiring requirements (years of experience in the international travel industry) means we get no black applicants? Is our CEO and founder racist? He is a white New England progressive – from Maine no less(!); he could well be very racist. Or maybe he isn’t. If I asked him, he’d claim he wasn’t that’s for sure, but he could be lying!

            Focusing on race is perfect if one is looking to create a life-time of employment in the activism/grievance industry, because it’s a permanent problem.

            Moreover, race gives a perfect excuse not to make a change, because we all know nothing is really going to change until the largely white suburban majority gets upset about this, and if they think its a problem aimed solely at blacks, rather than something that one day can endanger *them*, they will be far less motivated to demand political change.

            1. I posted this in the other Garner thread, but I think the biggest angle for the progs in playing up race is to keep the “coalition of the ascendant” together, because if the entire middle and working class vote their interests together the democrats become the 1930s/40s republicans.

            2. I think I wrote at length about the problem of the argumentem ad racism as you put it. But you’re missing the point: so that’s how they get to the point of wanting to push for legal and institutional restraints on police. We don’t think that’s the best way or correct, but that’s how they get there. Aren’t we there too though? We want institutional and legal restraints on the police too, right? Or do we just take TIT’s approach below that until we get a smaller government none of that’s useful so why try and/or those restraints will handcuff the poor cops from fighting bad guyz anyways?

              1. We don’t think that’s the best way or correct, but that’s how they get there. Aren’t we there too though? We want institutional and legal restraints on the police too, right?

                I agree that why a person is asking the right questions is irrelevant, so long as they are asking the right questions. For example, a factory manager asking “how can we reduce accidents causing injury?” is a good thing even if he’s motivated solely by a sociopathic focus on his bottom line.

                But, I am concerned that focusing on the chimera of racism is actually diverting people from asking the right questions.

                I suspect if you got a bunch of classical liberals and progressives into a room to discuss the various institutional and legal restraints that would prevent bad behavior, I suspect we would find very little common ground, because of the unnecessary insertion or racism into the matter.

                What has to happen is that the progs have to start questioning this legal terror they are constructing, where the police beat people into submitting to laws that the progressives adore such as the ones prohibiting selling cigarettes in lots that are too small, and soda in lots that are too big.

              2. so that’s how they get to the point of wanting to push for legal and institutional restraints on police.

                But, you’re assuming that’s what they’ll want, rather than affirmative action in arrests or more black cops or some other outlet that becomes more statist.

                1. This is the correct analysis. If you begin from the position that Progressives love and worship at the altar of the State, they will take no action that strips it of one iota of power. When the agents of the state engage in an abuse of the state’s holy and righteous power to do violence, then clearly, the fault lies with the agents, not with the state, so taking or limiting the state’s power of violence is off the table.

                  What about accountability? The state sets supervisors, so-called civilian review boards in some jurisdictions, and Internal Affairs, supposedly to keep these agents honest, yet unjustifiable homicides via forbidden methods still happens so clearly this accountability is not working. Perhaps the agents should be held to account by the survivors of their victim in that agents should be stripped of their immunity from civil suit? The Progressives say no, because then the police will hesitate to carry out their state appointed duty of violence against bad people who don’t pay the holy cigarette tax.

                  So the Progressive solution is for aggrieved civilians not to punish the state’s agents with civil remedies, but to stamp their feet on the sidewalk, wave signs, scream, shout, burn down the occasional building. Meanwhile, the state will retain its powers, the police will retain their failed mechanisms of accountability and restraint, but now, the Progressives will benevolently push for state agents who look like the people they kill.

          4. You’re missing something significant here, Bo.

            If you think the core problem here is race, then there’s no need to address the police state. If you think the problem is race, then bringing up the police state is just a distraction or “politicizing” the issue (as many on the Left have accused Rand Paul of doing for suggesting that the tobacco taxes played a role in this). If you think the problem is race, then statism is unindicted and the problem isn’t that cops can strangle a guy for selling cigarettes, but that the cops are going after the wrong people, and should go after fratboys for whatever made-up offenses they can dream with as much vigor.

            Yes, race is an aspect of these stories. But, the question of whether it is the central aspect or a consequence of statism makes all the difference in the world as to how one will view the issue.

        2. Do you think there are any common solutions to both of those perceived problems?

          Final solutions?

      2. We disagree over the root cause and what to do

        That is to quote our VP a pretty big fucking deal. If the Garner case is about racism, as the Progs like to pretend, then it is just about this cop being lousy or all whites being evil which of course justifies more laws. If, however, this case is about the police state progressives have been so helpful in creating, the implications are completely different and much more important for society and government since laws can repealed a lot easier than hearts can be changed.

        Whether this case is more than just another tragedy hinges on the question of what caused it. So the fact that Progs agree the cop was wrong really doesn’t mean very much.

        1. Isn’t at least good that they agree the cops actions are wrong? Why harp on points of disagreement when we’re all in agreement about that? Certainly we can offer some common solutions based solely on that. I think you’re seeing every thing as an excuse to berate ‘progs’, but hey, sometimes we should take ‘yes’ for an answer.

          1. 25 years ago I would have agreed.

            The problem is that all the solutions arising from the prog view have been tried, and have failed.

            Civilian review boards failed.

            Sensitivity training for police failed.

            Affirmative action hiring for police failed.

            “Community Awareness” failed.

            You’re asking me to ignore my own lying eyes and go through the motions of pretending that “common solutions” will help. But all the “common solutions” offered will be rebranded versions of stuff that already failed.

            1. Civilian review boards have certainly not been implemented in any mass or meaningful way, so I’m not ready to give up on that one. Body cams might be helpful. And federal investigations are good in situations like this (let me ask, do you think you would have a better chance of getting a federal indictment here from a GOP administration [one other than a Rand or Amash one of course]).

              1. “Body cams might be helpful.”

                So we can see how Eric Garner died?

              2. This is why focusing on one or two episodes of brutality will always hinder the argument. Whether or not the cops should have handled the confrontation differently DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER. It isn’t this confrontation, it is the confrontations that happen every damn day.

                At my company, they have a after-action deep dives following major outages. Almost always, people look at the direct causes- this alert was missed, this machine mis-configured- and create action items to fix these specific issues. The problem is that this doesn’t do anything to prevent another outage, since these big conflagurations are always caused by different root causes. It is difficult to get people to step back and look at the trends to say, “The real problem here wasn’t a misconfigured machine, but rather a systemic problem with our configuration management system.”

                Likewise, people need to accept that Garner didn’t die because these cops were racist, or because a bad apple broke the rules regarding choke holds. It happened because the system in place GUARANTEES that these types of confrontations happen every single day, and periodically enough faults align (bad apple, tired cop, looked like he had a gun, victim landed an injuring blow) that someone dies.

                As long as we insist that this happened because some guy was a racist, we will always try to fix that little issue, rather than stepping back and fixing the systemic ones.

            2. Unpossible. Nagul Scalia assured me of a “New Professionalism.”

            3. How do you know any of those things failed? Unless, of course, you expected the result to be total elimination of incidents like this! What’s the before-after comparison like, in terms of numbers?

              For that matter, how do you know there’s a particular problem now? At any given time, a certain number of people are going to commit crimes. In this case, which happened to be caught on video by a bystander, the criminals happened to be police. But that doesn’t say the problem is any better or worse than it used to be, or than it is anywhere else in the country or world.

              I’ve every reason to believe this case was personal?not racial, not about taxes.

          2. Certainly we can offer some common solutions based solely on that.

            This is so obviously untrue, it shocks me that anyone with any awareness could say it.

            If the problem is institutional or structural racism, body cameras and libertarian reform do nothing to solve this problem. If society is racist, then the members of society will not care if police are more transparent and in fact a reduction in the police force (which is at least under the nominal control of benevolent elites) may very well allow race-based violence to run rampant in the same manner as anti-Semitism within the medieval Europe peasantry.

            If the problem is a police and regulatory state combining to lethal effect (as libertarians would claim), then diversifying the police force does nothing to resolve the problem; it is rearranging deck chairs.

            In either case, the proposed reforms are orthogonal to one another, and focusing on one minimizes the other.

            1. First, most of the people on the left that I notice on this issue are talking more about racism among the police than society in general. And the same bodycams that they want to put in place to counter racism can be used to address police tactics generally.

              1. If the police and society are racist, how can it be trusted to engage in the kind of social engineering that Progs advocate?

                If the entire NYPD is institutionally racist, how is it anything but insane to give them the power to arrest people for crimes like selling cigarettes? The more laws we have, the more power the police has and the more damage their racism can do, right?

                1. Do you actually ever sit down and talk to actual liberals? Because when I do when they talk about police issues like this what they would like to see are legal and institutional restraints on the police and their use of force. So they get to this point because they are more worried about excessive force being used against blacks than anything else, so what, don’t we support legal and institutional restraints on police too? Or are we just going to say ‘well, until we have smaller government we’re not for any of your hippie dippie restraints on cops!’

                  1. Bo you completely miss the point. I am quite sure liberals are concerned with those things. The point is that after decades of trying we still have the problem. If you think police are racist and use excessive force against black people, then how can you justify passing more laws which give the police more power and responsibility?

                    The police are racists and use too much force against black people. Okay. Isn’t part of the solution to that repealing as many laws as possible so that police have fewer reasons to interact and oppress black people?

                    Again, if NYC didn’t have such insane cigarette laws, this incident never happens and Garner is never the victim of police racism.

                    Bo you can’t get away with on the one hand claiming the police departments are institutionally racist but on the other hand claiming we need to have laws like these and others that give these racist police departments more power to harm black people. The two positions are incompatible. What do you want, your nanny state laws or you claim the police departments are racist because you can’t have both.

                    1. How about this John. Between the three possible outcomes of 1. Nanny state with little legal and institutional restraints on police use of force 2. Nanny state with no such restraints and 3. No nanny state, I see 3 as best but I also can see 1 as better than 2. And if you haven’t noticed, most liberals today seem to want 1 at least. We’re living in 2. Why not work with them to get from 2 to 1 rather than saying ‘either you work with us to get to 3 or nothing!’

                    2. Why not work with them to get from 2 to 1 rather than saying ‘either you work with us to get to 3 or nothing!

                      Because, when you abandon scenario 3 in favor of scenario 1 (which as much as you might prefer 3, is what you are practically urging), you inevitaly wind up with scenario 2.

                    3. The police are racists and use too much force against black people. Okay. Isn’t part of the solution to that repealing as many laws as possible so that police have fewer reasons to interact and oppress black people?

                      No, because as long as there’s any such thing as legitimate police business, the problem would exist, if that’s the problem.

                      Again, if NYC didn’t have such insane cigarette laws, this incident never happens and Garner is never the victim of police racism.

                      The only evidence in favor of that statement was that this guy had previously been picked up on such a charge, apparently as the result of complaints from local retailers. I don’t see any evidence that’s what the problem was on the day in question.

                    4. No, because as long as there’s any such thing as legitimate police business, the problem would exist, if that’s the problem.

                      Sure it would still exist. But it would exist at a smaller scale. If police could only enforce actual laws like theft and assault and such, they would no longer have a justification for harassing so many people. You can’t stop and frisk half of New York City without drug and gun laws to justify doing it.

                      The only evidence in favor of that statement was that this guy had previously been picked up on such a charge, apparently as the result of complaints from local retailers. I don’t see any evidence that’s what the problem was on the day in question.

                      My lying eyes watching the video seems to give a lot of evidence. This guy was on the police radar and was on their list of people to run off from store fronts because he was known to violate this law. The cops passed tons of people standing in front of stores that day and only approached this guy. Why? Because of this law.

                    5. You don’t get it?they’ll always find justif’n if they want to. They’ll say it was theft or assault if those are the only things they’re supposed to deal w.

                    6. No Robert, you don’t get it. It takes effort to do that and cops are lazy. And we still have a 4th Amendment. The cops still have to come up with an excuse to stop someone. These laws making doing that very easy. Take them away and cops would have to work a bit to come up with an excuse and they aren’t going to go that kind of effort in nearly as many cases as they do now.

                      You don’t understand how cops actually think and how law enforcement actually works. You don’t understand this case or this issue at all. You are completely missing the point.

                    7. Think of it this way Robert, cops were a hundred times mroe racist 60 years ago than they are today. But the average black pwerson living in New York was hassled by cops much less than they are now. The reason is that there were fewer laws back them that gave cops an excuse to hassle them. Sure, some blacks got hassled a lot. But not nearly as many. The reason is that even the most racist cop didn’t have as many convenient reasons to hassle blacks. More laws mean more criminals and make more people criminals. Since criminals have more interactions with the cops and cops have more of an opportunity oppress criminals than non criminals, more laws mean more harassment. It is just that simple.

                    8. cops were a hundred times mroe racist 60 years ago than they are today.

                      How do you know?

                      But the average black person living in New York was hassled by cops much less than they are now.

                      And how do you know that?

                      The reason is that there were fewer laws back them that gave cops an excuse to hassle them.

                      This case gives me every reason to believe it wasn’t about race, it was personal. If they wanted to, they could say he looked like someone who’d been identified as a murder suspect. He wasn’t having “an interaction with cops” until they decided to go after him. After he was subdued & dying, somebody looked up his record & said for the record that it was about cigarets. But unless police never have any reason to arrest anybody, they could say it was for a good reason.

                    9. The cops passed tons of people standing in front of stores that day and only approached this guy. Why? Because of this law.

                      No, because there’d been a fight at that location.

              2. The bodycams are irrelevant if they do not also result in changes to how cops are tried and punished.

                As Fluffy says above, the prog solutions to police brutality have been tried and found lacking.

                So long as police unions, the regulatory state, and the presumption of competence within bureaucracy are left unchallenged, reform will be very difficult and progressives and libertarians will find each other to be allies of a very poor caliber. Since the only people participating in this debate are progs and libertarians, I say it is a better strategy to convert as many people to libertarian reform as is possible, rather than minimizing the aforementioned difference to achieve a tactical alliance with the left.

                1. Yes, we should fight with the people we agree with on this issue rather than the people we disagree with, because they agree with us for all the wrong reasons. Sheesh.

                  Your attitude about things like bodycams seems to be a classic example of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

            2. Of course if the entire society is racist and the police departments are institutionally racist, perhaps we should look at repealing as many laws as possible so that these institutionally racist police departments have less ability to harass and oppress black people?

              I am happy to go down the “police departments are institutionally racist” road with Progs. As fluffy points out above, the progs have spent 40 years trying to solve that problem and by their own admission have failed. So perhaps the problem can’t be solved and the only solution is to limit the police’ ability to oppress black people by repealing as many laws as possible. If selling cigarettes were not illegal, the cops would have not had a reason to even approach Garner and this would have never happened.

              1. Why would we do that when just a few more GOOD laws would fix everything?

              2. Exactly. But the progs want to control individual choices, liek smoking, so repealing laws is a non starter. There is no common ground because of the progs unwavering faith in the state.

                1. Of course we should fight the progs when they push these things. But right now they are not pushing these things, they are screaming ‘this Garner thing is a nut punch, something should be done about it.’ So we should respond with ‘yeah, we agree, but you guys want smoking bans and such so screw you!?’

                  1. Yes, because addressing the problem at the root cause really does matter. Slapping ineffectual band aids on it won;t do a thing.

                    1. That’s actually a good analogy. If you’re bleeding band aids might not be a cure all, but they can be better than no bandaging at all.

                  2. They are totally pushing for these things and trying to pretend the laws are not part of the problem.

                    1. We’re talking about the same group that was ecstatic when Roberts decided we could penaltax people for not having insurance.

              3. This is an excellent way of trying to engage progressives on the issue, John.

                1. This is an excellent way of trying to engage progressives on the issue, John

                  It’s not an attempt at engagement, it’s an attempt at conversion.

                  That is the point. You won’t get much (if any) use out of a prog unless they have essentially accepted the libertarian position on this issue; you can attempt to convert them to that position using argumentation but that is distinct from a tactical alliance (where some minimization of differences is necessary to secure a productive working relationship).

                  There are some genuine civil libertarians on the left, but they are rare and the libertarian task is IMO to convert more leftists and rightists to civil libertarianism, rather than to join with the left on the issue as it is today.

                  1. I’m sure calling them progtards is an excellent method of conversion.

                    1. Have you gone off your meds, Bo? I don’t use the word “progtard”, and have consistently referred to our friends on the left as “progressives”.

                      If you’d like to address the conversion/co-option dichotomy I propose, maybe we can have a fucking conversation like we were before instead of your usual horseshit.

                  2. How long have libertarians been trying to convert people on the left and right? 40 years? How much success has there been?

                    Maybe, just maybe, we would have more success if we tried to constructively work together on actual policy instead of only engaging in rhetorical debates? Real policies have real consequences that you can point to as evidence when trying to convince a skeptical public.

                    1. Try to convince the left of the consequences of min wage laws and let me know where you get.

                      The consequences of the ACA were talked about extensively, yet the left never cared an ounce.

                    2. The problem is that the left’s approach to policy on this issue is not sufficiently constructive.

                      Allow me to provide an example of constructive vs non-constructive policy influenced by libertarianism:

                      IMO, the privatization of prisons is a good example of something that was not constructive. It had libertarian elements, but ultimately was a) not very responsive to libertarian concerns RE: criminal justice, b) compromised by how privatization works in practice in this area, and therefore poisoned the well for libertarians on this issue to the degree that they are associated with the policy.

                      OTOH, the deregulations of the 80s and late 70s are a good example of constructive policy. These reforms concretely addressed the problems libertarians had with regulation in the area they were applied, had their indented effect and did not interface poorly with existing social and political trends. They are a real-world example of libertarian success, and we can proudly identify with this real-world shift in policy.

                      Prog reform on this issue is, ATM, poison. Most has already been tried and found lacking; bodycams are nice and effective in their domain but have limited effectiveness; they are not effective to the degree that it will outweigh the costs of associating with the rest of the prog agenda on the issue.

              4. They approached Garner because there’d been a disturbance in his vicinity.

          3. Isn’t at least good that they agree the cops actions are wrong?

            If they only think his actions were wrong because it was a white cop picking on a black guy, not really, because that ignores the issue of why the interaction took place in the first place. If this case stands for only “white cops shouldn’t attack and choke black people” then it doesn’t stand for much. If it however stands as an example of how nanny state laws effectively make war on poor people and how the explosion of laws has done nothing but given cops, racist or not, an excuse to harass and assault people, then it is an important case and stands for a lot. That “lot” is what terrifies the progs about this case.

            The cop was clearly wrong here. It is very doubtful the cop was racist. I see no reason why Garner would not have suffered the same fate had he been white. What, does the NYPD only let white people sell cigarettes? The Progs are only making this about race because they are desperate to avoid any discussion of the larger issues involved, like why the hell are the police out arresting people for selling single cigerettes in the first place.

            1. The Progs are only making this about race because they are desperate to avoid any discussion of the larger issues involved, like why the hell are the police out arresting people for selling single cigerettes(sic) in the first place.

              This.

              Because any discussion of the larger issue would withdraw the curtain and show that they are really only authoritarian shitstains.

            2. If this case stands for only “white cops shouldn’t attack and choke black people”

              I find it simply amazing that somehow the Democrat party, as a whole, can still be stuck at this particular step of what I’d dare to call basic human rights. It takes an unprecedented level of willful ignorance to believe that somehow this cop was just hunting niggers.

          4. Isn’t at least good that they agree the cops actions are wrong?

            Not if they think it would be awesome if it were done to some “rich kid frat boy” instead.

        2. I think there is room for agreement with progs here:

          “Yes, the police can be racist. Yes, they treat us like serfs or worse, and non-whites get treated even more serf-y. And maybe, just maybe, you ought to quit believing that big government is invariably and always our friend when these outcomes keep happening. Unless you hate blacks and want them to be treated badly.”

          1. Right. Progs and us agree on this, at least: that this kind of excessive force is bad. Why not unite behind that rather than saying ‘oh, you stupid progs, you think the laws which the excessive force occurs in implementing are fine, how stupid are you?’ Let’s say ‘ok, we agree it’s excessive and get something done about it’ and then fight the progs on the stupid laws another day?

            1. I’m with you on this one. Even if the solutions offered by progressives and libertarians are orthogonal (and I’m not convinced they have to be), why not use this as a teachable moment to try and persuade some progressives to adopt a libertarian solution? You can’t advance libertarian ideas by calling everyone who disagrees with you stupid, or worse.

              1. Because they are true believers. The state is an article of faith to them. Just keep changing the top men until we get the right people in charge.

                1. Here’s what they are not true believers: this kind of police use of excessive force.

                  We agree with them on that, right?

                2. Because they are true believers.

                  That’s an excuse. I have no doubt that it’s accurate for a minority, but no way 40-50% of the country is so ideologically committed to the state that they can’t be persuaded to take some small steps in a libertarian direction.

                  1. From my vantage point, I see state powers expanding continously over every day life and I very little complaints from the populace. Call it apathy, acceptance, or support.

                    1. You have to give people a real alternative. Not just logical arguments and philosophical lectures, but concrete actions with visible consequences. Here is a possible opening where libertarians can do that.

                    2. I’d encourage you to think about the audience we’re talking about. The affirmative consent laws will likely have visible, terrible consequences for a few. I doubt the laws defenders will care much. Ezra Klein even admitted as much.

                  2. I am a breathing example of someone who took small steps and is now a giant step into liberty. I have a master’s degree in social work ffs. Its easy to be a true believer in something until the facts, as you are willing to hear them, outweigh your beliefs (by a lot).

                    I don’t think you will get someone to hear the facts by insulting their intelligence.

                    I think Bo is right here. second amendment issues got me started thinking about all of my beliefs. Maybe this issue can be someone else’s start.

                    1. dhm makes an excellent point. The issue of police brutality can be used as an entree into lots of other discussions that are pertinent.

                      For example, after several horrific accidents in which pigs were chasing speeders the local PD decided that it was not worth the risk to chase people. The same logic can apply here – since the outcome of enforcing misdemeanor laws can be so horrific, the pigs should be instructed to back off and not apply the same protocols as when encountering an armed robber.

                      In effect we can push them down a slippery slope to liberty.

                  3. but no way 40-50% of the country is so ideologically committed to the state that they can’t be persuaded to take some small steps in a libertarian direction.

                    This incident was about tobacco but the country knows that this sort of thing happens all the time due to the war on drugs. If people were really so religiously committed to the state, we wouldn’t see the WoD losing popularity by small percentages every year.

                    Most liberals are more or less against the WoD, and if they can be convinced there, it is a small rhetorical leap to show them that the War on Sugar or War on Tobacco yields very similar results. And this case is a perfect example of exactly that.

        3. since laws can repealed a lot easier than hearts can be changed.

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHA

          Oh man, that was a good one John.

      3. here’s an idea: this is one of those rare instances where ‘progtards’ and we agree. We disagree over the root cause and what to do, but we agree that what happened was wrong.

        I’m gonna have to say that the bolded part is far, far more significant than the non-bolded, especially because progressives and libertarians also disagree on *why* the incident was wrong.

        Because politics is essentially about “what to do”, differences in this regard are important. Especially in the short term, outcomes should always beat out intentions in assessing the quality of one’s agreement with another person.

        Fundamentally, however, we also disagree on our priors. A libertarian or a classical liberal believes that what happened was wrong because nothing done by Eric Gardner was immoral or inappropriate conduct which needed to be directly addressed by the police, therefore force was completely inappropriate. Progressives believe that what happened was wrong because it was racist and excessive; they would have no problems with using coercion to force Gardner out of business. If Gardner and his family died because he couldn’t pay for their meals on account of being driven out of cigarette-selling business by regulation or criminalization of tobacco products, progressives wouldn’t give two fucks. It is merely the manner and timing in which the coercion was applied which is problematic to progressives, not its application.

        1. Surely we think it was excessive to, right? And a great deal of legal reform could be aimed at the excessiveness, right?

          1. Surely we think it was excessive to, right? And a great deal of legal reform could be aimed at the excessiveness, right?

            Of the toothless variety, sure. “Cops should be nice” is a face-level and simple point of agreement; if cops are not-nice because of racism then reform should be aimed at diversification and weeding out the racist cops. If cops are not-nice because they are incentivized to pursue victimless crimes, then reforms should be aimed firstly at eliminating enforcement of these laws by cops and secondarily at eliminating these laws.

            Because progressives do not acknowledge the intrinsic difficulties with the monopoly of force, they either pursue ineffective reforms or reforms which also have the effect of reducing effectiveness of enforcement of laws against violent crime (both terrible outcomes from the classical liberal perspective).

            1. Oh good grief, you’ve really got some beef on the Warren Court and ACLU stick up your butt behind all this.

              1. What the hell is that supposed to mean, you worthless piece of shit? I said nothing about the Warren Court — in fact I was thinking of European approaches to law enforcement; you are putting words in my mouth and you know it. Rather than alluding to some phantom conservative preoccupation on my part, maybe you can tell me how it is a bad thing to want a police force which is effective at classically liberal duties RE: violent and property crimes. Because if that’s not an appropriate concern, then we shouldn’t even *have* cops and talking about police brutality is a red herring in the context of libertarian politics.

                1. Yes TIT, we musn’t handcuff the police.

                  You’re dismissing reforms because they aren’t perfect or they will handcuff the police like in Europe.

                  1. What in the fuck is your goddamn problem? If you don’t think that progressive reform has that outcome, then say so and argue on those terms. But don’t pretend that my point is not valid simply because you conflate it with the conservative strawman in your head; non-anarchist classical liberals have always believed in a role for the state in punishing violent and property crime and many reforms in the Liberal Era were aimed at achieving this result.

                    Again, if you think progressive reforms don’t have this effect or that the trade-off on that issue from where we are right now to a more progressive point, then say so. It’s a valid point of view. Don’t fuck around with your usual bullshit about how horrible and conservative we all are because we don’t implicitly accept all of your priors.

                    1. I don’t think progressive reforms like bodycams are going to handcuff the police. They certainly won’t solve all police brutality problems, but they’re a step in the right direction. You seem unwilling to consider working with liberals in getting that step taken because it’s just a step, not the leap you (and I) would ideally want, and/or because you’re worried the bad guyz will run amok.

                    2. I don’t think progressive reforms like bodycams are going to handcuff the police.

                      I don’t think so, either. I think bodycams fit in the category of “ineffective reform” if they are not combined with a general police reform. Consider:

                      Under the current regs, the cop was fully justified in harassing Eric Gardner. If Eric Gardner resisted arrest or correction (as he did), the officer was free to use force commensurate with obtaining Gardner’s cooperation. In this incident, there would be a minor change — from a lethal chokehold to a tazing or some time in county jail. Reviewing a tape of a perfectly legal action on the part of a cop will not help if cops simply default to a lower (but still unjustified and wrong) level of force in their harassments. It probably doesn’t move many bad cops off the force, unless those cops have no ability to modify their level of harassment. Additionally, the bad cops will eventually find ways around the cameras (as with any security system); the goal of reform should therefore be to make it so that less bad cops permeate the environs and bodycams do not accomplish this goal.

                      Bodycams are a good item of reform in a general police/criminal justice reform, but so long as cops are required to enforce victimless crimes to a high degree and are given latitude in the force they use to achieve compliance, we will see very similar results as now.

                2. TIT, what are European approaches to law enforcement like?

                  1. Cops with machine guns, mostly.

                    1. So they act pretty much like cops anywhere, they just have snazzier guns?

          2. Surely we think it was excessive to, right?

            Libertarians think the excessiveness is the problem. Progressives think the actors involved in the incident are the problem.

            And a great deal of legal reform could be aimed at the excessiveness, right?

            It could also be aimed at unicorns and rainbows. We will never get unilateral progressive action on excessiveness when their priority is stoking the fires of racism.

            However, this preoccupation can be used to bring excessiveness to the forefront. If the progs are fed a healthy diet of police brutality on blacks, their rhetoric will reach a fever pitch. What happens when the progs go full tilt on the race card? The conservatives start showing alternative news stories where whites are the victims. Then, you have a public consciousness swimming with all sorts of police brutality and excessiveness, and then people will be ready to talk common sense.

            We don’t need prog solutions, we need their awareness machine.

            1. We don’t need prog solutions, we need their awareness machine.

              Careful what you ask for.

        2. Thinking this over, I think of the analogy of NY’s dope laws. These laws provided the occasion for considerable police harassment, and finally they decided to at least partially back off. They did it through the frame of “OPPRESSED PEOPLE OF COLOR” and assuming the harmlessness of MJ, of course, but at least they backed off.

          I’m less optimistic about backing off on the tobacco thing, because progs consider tobacco to be a poison pushed by evil big businesses, in contrast to dope which is a harmless substance for mellow people like them.

      4. I think it’s slowly dawning on progressives that government isn’t the messiah they thought it was. When even Eugene Robinson questions the cult of the omnibenevolent state, the cultists need to pay attention.

        OTOH, I think that any alliance with progressives, on this or any other issue, is going to be a long time in coming. Many progressives hate us so much that they will lie about what we believe just to avoid admitting that they agree with us on anything.

        1. Of course most of the work will have to be on the progressive side, there’s an irrational dislike of us. But taking dumps on them when they agree with us about this seems counterproductive in so many ways.

          1. This.

          2. Of course most of the work will have to be on the progressive side, there’s an irrational dislike of us

            It’s not irrational. Libertarians and progs are very different and have very different aims for police reform. Libertarians see reform as producing a professional organization with a very discrete task, a limited mandate, and with limited training to that purpose. Progs seek an organization which enforces everything with a wide mandate while projecting a positive image of government. These goals are opposed in most major respects.

        2. I think it’s slowly dawning on progressives that government isn’t the messiah they thought it was.

          It’s kind of definitional, Doc. Progressives *have* to believe in government, otherwise they aren’t actual progressives. I think it might be more accurate to say that some progressives are having a rude wakeup call. It will be interesting to see what they do with that.

          If we see progressives jumping ship, if we see the moderate, classical liberal wing of their preferred party revitalize, then this has had an effect.

          Progressivism as a movement may moderate somewhat to try to retain what power they have, but the core ideology will remain intransigently nanny-statist. They may slap some paint on it and pull back on a few issues.

    2. Worse than that, he’s a race traitor. Everyone knows libertarians have to be of Anglo descent. Or Scotch-Irish. German maybe. I suppose some Italian is okay, but not too much, especially if you’re Sicilian.

      But a Gen Y child of a Palestinian business owner going all Ron Paul on us, well, Justin has clearly strayed off the progressive reservation of identity politics. If we don’t put an end to this, next thing you know libertarianism will be attracting mulattoes.

    3. Racist Republican…really? The guy has had 31 arrests and is 6’4″ 350lbs! I’ve heard from NY police officers that the “chokehold” put on him was not illegal…perhaps he should not have resisted arrest for selling cigarettes illegally. Comply and don’t die…his weight is probably what caused him to die…someone who is not obese what not have died…he killed himself with his own weight!

  2. This guy gets more amashing every day.

    1. His comments are Justin time.

      1. Well played.

  3. Justin Amash is awesome.

  4. How is “Law Enforcement Officer” not a de facto title of nobility? It provides a special privilege before the law that citizens are not subject to.

    1. I fianlly finished A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman. An analysis of the 14th century. These pigs remind me of the brigands running through the French Country side.

      1. I was thinking the same because I am listening to a Napoleon biography and as anti-Republican as he became, Napoleonic titles specifically did NOT exempt their holders from equality before the law*.

        *In theory.

    2. It’s exempted from the Constitutional definition of a title of nobility by the FYTW clause.

    3. Because the Nazgul are either afraid of cops or don’t believe the consequences of granting cops extraordinary unaccountable authority will ever fall on them.

      1. They won’t. The Nine, and all the lesser federal judges will never have things like this happen to them.

        Also, if people start rethinking the police, why they might get uppity and decide to rething the whole judge thing, too, and we can’t have that.

  5. Justin Amash almost makes me want to move to Michigan.

    1. But not enough to root for the Wolverines or Lions I hope.

      1. Or experience six months of winter.

        1. Feature, not bug. Except for the lack of really good mountains.

          1. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. I prefer to visit winter, not live through it.

            1. Can you really call what they do in Michigan “living”?

              1. Michigan is so pathetic they fought a war to keep Toledo.

          2. Do they have any mountains at all?

            1. Does rubble count?

            2. They do have 1 or 2 ski areas, IIRC.

              1. HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!!

                *says guy who lives in Colorado.

                P.S. KK, when you coming back out to go skiing? my child has lessons this year so I am going to be skiing a ton in January.

                1. My Pa and I will be in Park City Jan 31-Feb 7. Lemme know if you’re out that way – maybe a libertarian meetup is in order!

                  I really would like to do Colorado next year, for the weed. I just haven’t been able to find the huge number of gentle cruisers that they have in PCMR and Deer Valley.

                  1. Damn, I don’t fly in till 8FEB. I’ll keep the libertarian bonfire burning though.

                    Oh, ski Telluride. Fuck the east slope.

                2. What’s your opinion of Winter Park in general? The trail map looks awesome for my type of skiing.

                  1. Winter Park is fun. I love Copper Mountain. Loveland isn’t bad either for it’s proximity to Denver.

                  2. You’ll find far more beginner to intermediate terrain at Breckenridge.

              2. Interesting geology/geography from the little I’ve seen: steep slopes created by ravines, rather than by mtn.-bldg.

        2. When I was in MI, winter was mostly not so bad. The part I hated was the monsoon season of late winter and early spring.

  6. You don’t have to be a crusader or an activist, or someone who is worried about a pattern of aggressive policing to be upset about this case.

    One thing I have noticed in a lot of comment sections are a large portion of people who think the pigs are beyond reproach. “do what you’re, told and you won’t be killed.” “just do what you’re told.” “the media is full of cop haters” “respect the police or suffer the consequences”

    Plainly there is a large authoritarian streak out there that think things are going the wrong way: cops should be given more leeway and less second guessing.

    1. They’re mainly suburban upper middle class people whose police officers are their neighbors, and officer friendly’ job is to make sure little Johnny isn’t doing dope. They have a huge disconnect from the modern urban cop.

      It doesn’t excuse their ignorance, but it explains it.

    2. Obviously the solution is better nonlethal weapons.

      /Kinder gentler authoritarian

    3. As long as people can convince themselves that only the people who deserve it are being treated this way, they will ignore it–and when they really want to–celebrate it.

      If you aren’t someone who sees it all the time, has been through it yourself (like sarcasmic, me and a few others here) or has a brain to recognize a clear pattern, then you can fool yourself into thinking it will never happen to you. It’s a particularly toxic sludge of privilege, luck and ignorance.

      1. I don’t really wish that their children get burned terribly in their cribs for the crime of renting a former offender’s apartment a year behind him, but that was when I couldn’t avoid it anymore. Not that it happened to me, but I think the Cory Maye case was the first time I realized that the cops were untouchable, even when they clearly were in the wrong. When you really couldn’t just mind your own business and be guaranteed of being left alone.

      2. That is a great point Sugar Free. If this is about “racism” then white people don’t have to worry about it happening to them. And even non-racist people are not going to work very hard to stop harms that they don’t think will ever directly affect them.

        1. Rich people are more likely to get smacked around by, say, zoning boards or the EPA – these bodies can be highly oppressive, and sometimes they even stage raids, so I wonder if the monocle-twirling crowd can sympathize at least to that extent.

    4. Eh I think the disconnect there comes from people who live in rural areas. I’m the facilities manager for a summer camp in a rural county about half an hour from Richmond.

      Dealing with the local deputies is nothing but pleasant. They are great guys, very easygoing. True peace officers, who are unfailingly respectful of both personal privacy and property rights in my experience. I remember once I was out there at night, and forgot to close the gate behind me. The deputy rolled in, and spoke to me. We chatted for a few minutes, he apologized several times for trespassing, never asked me for ID or ran me for warrants. He didn’t stare at me menacingly or ask pointed questions. He didn’t keep his hand on the butt of his pistol.

      The city cops on the other hand, are unfailingly unpleasant. When I had a pistol stolen from my car, six of them showed up, circled me on my front lawn, and fired questions at me one after the other. They all loomed, stared, kept fingering the butts of their Glocks. I was the victim of a crime, and they treated me like the criminal. Oh and of course they didn’t do anything to actually recover my property. Reports were filed.

      1. Policing, like a lot of things needs to be local. The reason why the deputies are pleasant is because they are part of the community. They live there. In big cities the cops all live in the burbs, are not from there and view the population as some kind of alien entity.

        Local policing, however, is not consistent with giant unionized police forces enforcing the gargantuan regulatory state Progs love.

        1. What are you talking about, John? All the NYPD cops live in Queens. You can tell because they all seem to catch lines from Jamaica into their precinct houses.

        2. Maricopa county seems local and it’s oppressive and evil. I think eliminating unions and ‘officer mentality’ is the key.

    5. Plainly there is a large authoritarian streak out there that think things are going the wrong way: cops should be given more leeway and less second guessing.

      Michael Huemer has a section in “The Problem of Political Authority” about Stockholm Syndrome. It was like a kick to the side of my mind.

      Laconic as I am, I’ll simply point out that it’s relevant here.

    6. There’s also a lot of astroturfing in those threads. A lot of those posts are from cops, or their families pretending to be unaffiliated ordinary citizens.

  7. So I’ve been assuming that the police were trying to cuff him when they tried to grab his hands. But if he had no loose cigarettes on him, and they initially became aware of him for breaking up a fight (i.e., doing the right fucking thing), what in God’s Name was their justification for trying to restrain/cuff him in the first place??? Anyone heard anything about that?

      1. What does that mean? I honestly have no idea.

        1. It’s the police’s job to break up fights. This guy’s not trained nor licensed for it.

          Like go try and unload a ship with your own forklift at a union shipyard and see what happens.

          1. Please tell me you’re being facetious and that there isn’t actually a law against breaking up fights if you’re not a cop.

            1. I am being (trying to be?) facetious. And I wasn’t implying a law as much as a union violation.

              That being said, I’m sure that breaking up a fight could get you into legal trouble. You could probably get bent for assaulting one or both involved parties, escalation, disturbing the “peace”, etc.

              And there’s probably still old laws on the books that could get you like “disrupting a duel,” depending on the state.

              1. State dueling laws tend to be against the duels rather than against disrupting them, but otherwise I imagine you’re right.

    1. That’s why I think the whole business about cigarets is a distraction. This story happens whether or not there was any law against selling loose cigarets, they were going to get this guy for something. We’ll probably never know the reason.

  8. Looks like I was wrong. Taxation isn’t always theft. Sometimes it’s murder.

  9. So after Nutpunch Wednesday and Thursday, will we have sexy Friday?

    1. Sexy Fridays have been cancelled until Chuck Schumer’s new “even more revealing” outfits arrive.

      1. There is a Special Hell for people like you. A very. Special. Hell.

      2. “Paging Barfman…paging Barfman”

  10. That move?the chokehold that sets up the takedown shown on the video?is prohibited under New York Police Department guidelines. It was forbidden by the department in 1983, except in cases where an officer’s life is in danger, after multiple individuals were killed by its use. In 1993, it was forbidden entirely.

    I don’t see how procedures could’ve been followed.

    1. This should definitely exclude the cops from sovereign immunity, right? Garner’s family should at least be able to bankrupt and destroy these guys financially.

      1. It’s forbidden by policy, but not by law. So immunity still applies.

  11. P O L I C E – S T A T E

    Is it possible to undo a police state without a revolution?

    1. I’m thinking something like Order 66, except, you know, not quite like that.

      1. I had to google that. I am so old and out of touch. Now get off my lawn.

    2. I dunno. There are a lot of powerful interest in keeping it. i.e. the criminal/military industrial complex. They are not going to go without a fight. They will couch the argument in terms of jobs will resonate with soccer moms.

    3. Nope. Government is a one-way ratchet.

      1. The best we can hope for is a velvet revolution I suppose.

        1. I had to google that. I’m so young and ignorant. Get with the times, old-timer.

      2. Every now and then I get a glimmer of hope that the ratchet has broken, and then I just get two dicks in my ass instead of one.

        1. I would say that definitively means your ratchet is broken.

      3. This is clearly wrong since America is freer than it was in the ’30s and ’70s.

        1. Really? There is less legislation, regulation, and enforcement than there was in the ’30s and ’70s? Could have fooled me. Sorry, but not all freedom is the same.

    4. Does bankruptcy chaos count as a revolution?

      1. Ima say “No”.

        1. Then “yes” to kinnath’s question, since that is the much much much more likely scenario.

          1. So bankruptcy chaos might undo the police state?

            Because … the police won’t be paid?

    5. Yes. Asteroid strike, pandemic or other natural disaster.

      1. Thanks. I find this very uplifting.

  12. A case like this makes clear the value in acknowledging the very real distinction between liberals and progressives. Because I think liberals can be very very strong allies with us on this issue.

  13. Putting this thing in a racial frame could result in such a backlash (if the progs get their way) as to discourage prosecution of *violent* crime and (as in Ferguson) to have the government neglect its duty of protecting person and property.

    More productive would be to focus on the existence of so many petty laws – regulating cigarettes and dope, not murder – and how in the name of “correcting your behavior” (as the NYC administration calls it) you can be the target of police force for minor things which in some cases shouldn’t even be illegal at all.

    The way the “conversation” is shaping up, progs want to equate choking a cigarette seller (and, by the way, don’t you *dare* blame the cigarette taxes, you right-wing hater!), and shooting a robber who (according to numerous witnesses) was trying to grab a cop’s gun and seemed to threaten his life.

    Instead of discouraging the government from sending its goons to enforce petty dipshit laws, the current “conversation” will discourage the cops from performing basic functions of controlling violent crime and deterring, say, arson, because if they shoot an arsonist then Rent-A-Mob will show up and say the guy wasn’t trying to *light* that Molotov cocktail and anyway aren’t Black Lives More Important Than Property?

    1. That’s kind of how it went down in the 60s and 70s – draw back the police from even repressing violent crime, reduce the sentences for even violent felons. This in turn caused a backlash which helped bring us to the tank-riding, choke-holding cops of today. Now we’re going to risk a counter-counter backlash where the cops and National Guard hesitate to protect property lest they shoot some arsonist whose family will pour out into the streets with Rent-A-Mob and high-school graduation pictures and demand the punishment of the shooter.

      1. If numbers bear it out, that pendulum swing could explain things. Like there’s only 1 knob: more or less policing, like the brightness control on video that doesn’t affect the contrast but makes the darks & lights lighter or darker all together.

        1. Or kind of like the ads for Dash low sudsing laundry powder. My washing machine’s clogged up with suds, should I use less soap?

  14. It was forbidden by the department in 1983, except in cases where an officer’s life is in danger, after multiple individuals were killed by its use. In 1993, it was forbidden entirely.

    So, something that the cops were FORBIDDEN from doing is caught on camera being done and still no indictment? There is no law.

    1. over nothing more than the possibility that he might be selling illegal cigarettes on the street.

      You don’t understand! They killed him to save teh childrunz from those death sticks!

      1. Yeah, see how deadly cigarettes are!

  15. What, no one wants to raise the other libertarian issue here? Why is selling tax-free cigarettes a crime punishable by police meting out death?

    1. Yes. Literally no one raised that exact same point.

  16. “I pray that peace and justice will prevail.”

    Welp, we know justice won’t.

    1. It just needs time. A lot of time.

      1. This cop walked. No justice there, now or later.

  17. In New York, “A person is guilty of murder in the first degree when: With intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person; and the defendant acted in an especially cruel and wanton manner pursuant to a course of conduct intended to inflict and inflicting torture upon the victim prior to the victim’s death, and the defendant was more than eighteen years old at the time of the commission of the crime.” A reasonable person would be expected to know that keeping someone in a chokehold after they lose consciousness is an act that can cause death, and that one does not perform an act that one knows can cause death without an intent to cause death. A reasonable person would also be expected to know that choking out a person who has not damaged any person or property despite the person’s health problems and protests of being unable to breathe is “an especially cruel and wanton manner pursuant to a course of conduct intended to inflict and inflicting torture upon the victim.” In another case earlier this year, a man pleaded guilty to first degree murder charges in New York for choking someone to death, so there is legal precedent for such a charge.

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