Eric Garner

An NYPD Superior Reacted to Eric Garner's Death by Texting 'Not a Big Deal.' And That's Completely Unsurprising.

For five years, the NYPD, its apologists, and even Mayor Bill de Blasio have absolved cops of their role in Eric Garner's death.

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Nearly five years after Eric Garner was killed, the callous reactions to his death continue.

In 2014, video showed New York Police Department (NYPD) officers confronting the 43-year-old Garner on a sidewalk. The officers, including one Daniel Pantaleo, attempted to arrest Garner for selling individual untaxed cigarettes. Garner rejected their accusations of illegal activity and said he was just recovering after breaking up a fight. Police jumped on Garner and forced him to the ground. Pantaleo put Garner in a chokehold, a move that is banned by the NYPDGarner repeatedly told officers he couldn't breathe. They ignored him, and he died.

Now Pantaleo is finally facing an internal disciplinary hearing. During that process yesterday, text messages between 120th Precinct Lt. Christopher Bannon and a police sergeant were displayed on a screen and read aloud. The sergeant informed Bannon in 2014 of Garner's arrest, adding that he was "most likely DOA" (dead on arrival).

Bannon texted back: "Not a big deal. We were effecting a lawful arrest."

The New York Times reports that Pantaleo's lawyer intended to use Bannon's testimony to establish that the officer was carrying out good police work. But there was an audible gasp in the room as prosecutors read the text exchange aloud.

Asked to explain the text, Bannon said his words were written not out of maliciousness but simply to assure Pantaleo that "he was put in a bad situation." A prosecutor then asked whether Garner was similarly placed "in a bad situation," Bannon said he wasn't sure how to answer the question.

Bannon's reactions are appalling but also unsurprising. In the weeks following Garner's death, police forums were riddled with anonymous posts accusing Garner of killing himself with his noncompliance.

The immediate NYPD reaction similarly absolved itself of wrongdoing. Both Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio quickly informed New Yorkers that police would continue to "strictly enforce" the laws against loose cigarettes and that it was a civilian's responsibility to "correct" their own behavior when approached by an officer.

Bonus video: After retracing Garner's steps the day he died, journalist Matt Taibbi concluded that there was no possible way Garner had been selling loose cigarettes at the time that police said. Garner—who had been going about his day after breaking up a fight, as he said—had several legitimate reasons to be surprised by the influx of officers coming to arrest him.

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  1. But there was an audible gasp in the room as prosecutors read the text exchange aloud.

    I understand law enforcement being tone deaf, but his attorney?

    1. I don’t believe the prosecutor is his attorney in this case but it’s hard to tell who they work for now a days.

      1. Now Pantaleo is finally facing an internal disciplinary hearing.”

        It’s not a criminal trial, there is no prosecutor.

        The New York Times reports that Pantaleo’s lawyer intended to use Bannon’s testimony to establish that the officer was carrying out good police work.

        What part of Pantealeo’s Lawyer did you not understand. It was his lawyer, who raised these texts, not whatever NYPD official is running the Department’s side of the disciplinary hearing.

        1. Shouldn’t have relied on Fist for my source. Sorry, I recall my earlier statement.

  2. Another episode from the series “Great Moments in Policing.”

  3. Sigh

    Garner was not choked to death. If you can say “I can’t breathe” clearly and audibly, you can breathe. You don’t choke to death 45 minutes after someone has let go of you.
    I wish all the Science! lovers could stick to some basic facts.
    He died of a heart attack. Probably because he was on the ground with people on top of him, but his own massive weight and elevated heart rate brought it about.
    It doesn’t matter if he was breaking up a fight or selling loosies. (He had been selling loosies in the same spot dozens of times before). You don’t get to push the first officer’s arms away without getting more cops and rough treatment.

    1. Yeah, his “manner of death” doesn’t seem right. But for me, the real question is, was, and remains: what business do men with guns have going around enforcing picayune laws, like selling a cigarette, which shouldn’t even exist in a sane society?

      1. Absolutely none, but then the murderers in blue wouldn’t have cover to murder people, would they?

      2. Your problem, them is with the people, who make “picayune laws, like selling a cigarette, which shouldn’t even exist in a sane society”, not the ones, whose job it is to enforce them.
        I’ll wager that in your job, you’ve done some things that you were told to do, that you didn’t think made sense.
        It’s not up to the cops on the street to decide which laws to enforce and which ones to not.

        1. Nope. Fuck you. You’ve mentioned that you’re a retired police officer before, so let me ask you this…

          Was there a gun to your head during your entire career? Did you ever enforce a clearly horrible law that you knew wasn’t right? Why didn’t you quit? Expanding upon that; why don’t any of these monsters quit?

          It’s because you, and these assholes, love the money and benefits and power. You’re happy to destroy lives for money. Nuremburg defendants weren’t allowed to use “I was just following orders” as an excuse, and you have MUCH less to worry about if you refuse an order. you can literally LEAVE YOUR FUCKING JOB AND DO SOMETHING ELSE.

          Laws be damned, if worthless amoral sociopaths like you simply refused to do these things to people, it wouldn’t matter how many laws were passed. Ultimately, laws have to have a violent sociopath to enforce them or they’re worthless.

          YOU are the problem. Is that understood, fucker? You and all your ilk. Suck a dick, RF, I hope you die cold and alone.

    2. He died of an asthma attack and was dead before the police got off of him. And there was no reason for anyone to be on top of him because they had no right to harass him. Again, does the police union pay you to post?

      1. Them boots ain’t gonna lick themselves.

    3. The article doesn’t say Garner was chocked to death. It says he was choked and then that he died. Being choked, even if you can sometimes wheeze out a few words, is biologically stressful. Incremental stress can kill you. Maybe you personally wouldn’t have died after being beaten and abused by the police like Garner was. But that’s not the legal standard. The question is whether Garner would have died without that incremental stress. It’s called the but-for standard. If it’s true that ‘but for the choking, Garner would have lived’ then the police committed murder.

      1. “But-for” Garner’s resistance, none of what subsequently happened, would have.

        1. “But-for” the unconstitutional and tyrannical force the police used, none of what subsequently happened, would have.

        2. Garner’s resistance, however, was constitutionally protected.

        3. Just obey, right? I mean, what else is a free man to do, other than capitulate to the demands of monsters?

    4. “Nah, I’m not going to jail today.”

      That means you’re going to jail.

      And when the police have had time to bring a dozen playmates along, only a fucking idiot with a death wish says so. He wanted to be a martyr.

      Now, is the law bullshit? Yes. But if you fight men with guns, unarmed, you are going to lose. Every time.

      1. Which is why we need to bring back the right to resist. Police may stop attacking innocent people if they know they might die.

        1. You’d better be recording the entire interaction and know you are acting in self defence if you want to threaten or kill an officer.

          Garner had no such opportunity.

          1. If you’re going to fight back, you know ahead of time that you’re going to die. It’s been shown how the police react to resistance.

            The only reason to sacrifice yourself that way is to take some with you. If everybody in the country was willing to do this, the problem would solve itself overnight.

            It is cowardice and a lack of willpower that allows this to continue.

  4. […] that exemplifies it on an individual level, it’s the 2014 death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold by an NYPD […]

  5. […] that exemplifies it on an individual level, it’s the 2014 death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold by an NYPD […]

  6. […] An NYPD Superior Reacted to Eric Garner’s Death by Texting ‘Not a Big Deal.’ And T…  Reason […]

  7. […] An NYPD Superior Reacted to Eric Garner’s Death by Texting ‘Not a Big Deal.’ And T…  Reason […]

  8. […] An NYPD Superior Reacted to Eric Garner’s Death by Texting ‘Not a Big Deal.’ And T…  Reason […]

  9. Garner—who had been going about his day after breaking up a fight, as he said—had several legitimate reasons to be surprised by the influx of officers coming to arrest him.

    I don’t think he was a damn bit surprised – he was bitching about being constantly hassled and said he was mad as hell and he wasn’t going to take it any more. I’m sure the cops are going to say their many interactions with Garner prove what a bad man he was – an alternative explanation is that the bullies in blue found Garner an easy, and easily recognizable, target.

  10. If the comments at PoliceOne or <a href="https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/theerant/cop-s-closely-watched-disciplinary-trial-in-eric-g-t100844-s10.html"title="This place" are any indicator, the goddamn cops give zero shits. Garner died because he was fat and didn’t comply.

    It never occurs to them, ever, that they don’t actually have an obligation to choke people to death.

  11. […] that exemplifies it on an individual level, it’s the 2014 death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold by an NYPD […]

  12. One of the many tragedies of this story is that it never got the attention it deserved and demanded. The national media, talking heads, and political and social leaders, were too invested in the theater of the Michael Brown-Ferguson circle jerk. This was the theater of the absurd in that you had two cases of alleged excessive force. In one were there was no strong evidence, no supporting witnesses and a “victim” known to be violent and criminal. This accusation was so weak it needed to be propped up with hyperbole and out right lies, (hands up don’t shoot). The other was caught on tape and clearly showed a man who was only selling cigarettes, attacked by 4 or more cops, put in a strangle hold, begging for his life and being choked to death before our eyes. And yet the focus is on the crated case not the real threat.

    1. It is unconscionable that both the media did not give it enough play and none of those officers are in jail.

  13. What a horrible way to die. He was attacked by a mob, beaten and choked while he begged for life until he died in panic.

    Is that “serving and protecting”?

    What was he supposed to do lie still during the beating hoping those who were ignoring his pleas for air wouldn’t kill him?

    Or struggle for life with his last breath?

    What would you do?

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