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In a matter of just over a week another grand jury has decided not to indict a police officer for the death of an unarmed black man.

This time it’s New York and the officer involved in the Eric Garner case where the 43-year old Staten Island man died last July after a confrontation with police that was caught on videotape.

“Put your hands behind your back.  I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

Garner could be heard saying “I can’t breathe” 11 times as police subdued him and placed him in a chokehold, a technique that has been banned by the NYPD.

Garner’s infraction, selling untaxed cigarettes.

After the announcement that Officer Daniel Pantaleo would not be charged outrage and protests broke out on the streets of New York with demonstrators chanting “I can’t breathe, Eric Garner, No justice, no peace.”

They and millions around the country are wondering what it takes for an officer to face a jury trial when their interactions with a suspects turn deadly.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is married to a black woman and has a black son who he mentioned during a press conference after the announcement is wondering the same thing.

“There’s a history we have to overcome because for so many of our young people there’s a fear.  And for so many of our families there’s a fear. So I’ve had to worry over the years. Chirlane has had to worry is Dante safe every night.  There are so many families in the city who feel that each and every night.  Is my child safe?

Are the safe from neighborhood violence and from the people they want to have faith in – police officers?

But no one is more afraid today than Eric Garner’s family, his mother, his children and his widow who had this to say when asked if she accepts the officer offering condolences.

“Hell no. The time for remorse would have been when my husband was screaming to breath. That would have been the time for him to show some type of remorse or some type of care for another human being’s life, when he was screaming 11 times that he can’t breathe. “So there’s nothing that him or his prayers or anything else will make me feel any different. No, I don’t accept his apology. No, I can care less about his condolences. He’s still working, he’s still getting a paycheck, he’s still feeding his kids, and my husband is six feet under, and I’m looking for a way to feed my kids now.”

And with that, I don’t need to say another word.

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10 thoughts on “Don Lemon: Eric Garner – Homicide Yet No Indictment. How Much Does It Take To Go To Trial?

  1. Weston, Charles MD on said:

    When the initial news of the death of Eric Garner occurred, it seemed a minor occurrence – very important to Mr. Garner and his family, but not a major national event. Now it has become the genesis of nationwide mindless protests, over the supposedly lethal and irresponsible actions of a New York policeman and the subsequent decision of a Grand Jury to decline an indictment.

    Having reviewed the video several times now, and being a physician who specialized in the surgery of the very obese, I believe that the cause of Mr. Garner’s death was not “police brutality” or negligence, but rather the unfortunate synergy between his disease of morbid obesity and actions most police perform countless times with only transient discomfort to the arrestee. The decision of the Grand Jury was reasonable.

    Mr. Garner’s demise was the consequence of a confluence of many factors, most of which were beyond the ken of a policeman, and which occurred in devastatingly rapid sequence.

    Eric Garner was very obese, said to weigh at least 350 pounds. In fact, based upon his height and appearance, he very likely weighed more than that, but very few bathroom scales read high enough to accurately measure weight of that magnitude. By simple observation, one could see that his abdomen was very large and protuberant. His chest was similarly blanketed with a heavy layer of fat, and he had no visible neck – no indentation under his jaw, typically present in non-obese persons, which permits application of a “chokehold,” to briefly arrest the carotid circulation to render him unconscious and manageable. The chokehold was ineffective as a control, but it served to take him to the ground by leverage.

    Medically, he was said to suffer from sleep apnea, and he may well also have Pickwickian Syndrome (less picturesquely, “Obesity-hypoventilation syndrome”), which can cause resting hypoxia; low blood oxygen levels, even at rest; and altered physiological responses to high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. These conditions in turn lead to congestive heart failure and to sporadic loss of consciousness. Yet another diagnosis was acute and chronic bronchial asthma, which can be activated by any acute stress, and which would further impair his respiration.

    An obese male of Mr. Garner’s size has enormously powerful muscle strength. Just lifting himself out of a chair requires pressing 350 lbs.! His legs each lift at least 350 lbs. with every step. He was almost certainly far stronger than any of the officers attempting to arrest him, and that required that they exert significant force to subdue him.

    The tragedy developed as follows:

    The squad of officers who sought to arrest Garner was under the supervision of a sergeant who was black and female, and was therefore very unlikely to be racially motivated.
    Mr. Garner was being placed under arrest for a tax law violation related to the sale of untaxed cigarettes – a trivial offense.
    However, Mr. Garner actively resisted arrest, and that criminal offense forces the police to assert their authority, regardless of the gravity of the original crime (next time you get a traffic ticket, refuse to sign it, and see what happens to you).
    Officer Pantaleo can be seen in the video placing his left arm alongside Mr. Garner’s neck, and encircling his neck with his right arm. However, there is no impression of Pantaleo’s arm under Garner’s chin, as is necessary for an effective carotid occlusion.
    The effect of Pantaleo’s effort was to unbalance Garner, causing him to fall to the ground, with Pantaleo winding up on top of him. At this point, Pantaleo can clearly be seen to release his ineffectual “chokehold” and to (roughly) hold Garner’s head to the pavement while the other officers subdue him.
    It was after Pantaleo had released his hold that Garner uttered, “I can’t breathe!” several times. Garner was still alive and conscious after Pantaleo released him from the “chokehold” that supposedly (by overwhelming popular opinion) was responsible for his death!
    Mr. Garner was subdued by other officers who placed their weight on his body in order to wrest his arms behind him to apply handcuffs.
    Mr. Garner’s chest capacity (vital capacity) was already seriously compromised by his obesity. An officer’s weight on his chest would further diminish his lung capacities.
    Pressure on Mr. Garner’s abdomen, also exerted to subdue him, forced the enormous fatty contents of his abdomen to be pushed upward toward his chest, restricting his diaphragmatic motion, adding another factor that reduced his ability to breathe. He was barely able to inhale enough air to gasp, “I can’t breathe!”
    A normal and healthy male would have been transiently distressed by the actions of the arresting officers. Mr. Garner had no margin of safety, no reserve at all, and was precariously unstable even before he was accosted. The actions of the arresting officers, undoubtedly used many times before without significant ill effect, combined with Garner’s pathophysiology to rapidly produce hypoxia, very likely aggravated by carbon dioxide retention and narcosis, which suppresses the normal reflex to breathe. This was rapidly followed by cardiac arrhythmia and death.
    Unfortunately, when Mr. Garner became unconscious from hypoxia and carbon dioxide narcosis, the officers appeared bewildered and evidently did not realize that Mr. Garner was rapidly dying from cessation of his breathing and then of his cardiac activity.

    The subsequent post-mortem examination is said to have shown no evidence of injury to either the larynx or the hyoid bone, which is almost always fractured in cases of strangulation. Mr. Garner is said to have died from “chest compression” and associated heart disease.

    Few persons, undoubtedly including most police officers and even Mr. Garner, would understand the gravity and complex pathophysiology of this condition, and the rapidity with which it can become irreversible, unless an airway and mechanical ventilation can be quickly administered – and establishing an airway in a very obese person is itself extremely challenging even under ideal conditions, such as in an operating room, let alone on the sidewalk.

    Eric Garner’s death had essentially nothing to do with racism or racial animosity, particularly when one can see an African-American female sergeant, in charge at the scene, standing and observing the arrest in the background. Ultimately, as the senior officer on the scene, she was responsible for Mr. Garner’s safety, although it would be unreasonable to incriminate her, either, given the obscure physiology of the chain of events that led to his unfortunate demise.

    Needless to say, the facts will have little influence on racial demagogues, such as Al Sharpton and President Obama, as they seek to racially divide our nation and generate racial hatred.

  2. 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!

  3. It is no rocket science as to why Officer Pantaleo should have been indicted. His lack of being indicted makes life on the streets really scary. All Pantaleo had to do was ease up on pressure that was forcing Garner to say that he could not breathe. Eric Garner said so ELEVEN TIMES!!!.

    • I agree. They had no reason to treath that man in such a way. All he did was say that he didn’t want to be arrested. I mean who wants to be arrested. Then with all of his medical problems, that racist police officer should have never have jumped on him like that. They have all the power over us and they abuse us.

  4. All of the recent police shootings of un-armed young men of color is the 21st century’s method of “Lynching.”

    Just as society had no love for Black men back in the day and chose at every opportunity to dispose
    of them on the basis of the bogus accusation of being a threat to the virtue of White women, they would find an available tree, gather in the town square and watch another human being hung.

    Today, it’s law enforcement officers doing this deed by shooting and killing un-armed young men in urban streets on the bogus premise that they either looked like they were pointing a gun, resisting arrest or some other lame excuse.

    The so called “justice” system must be changed so that all cops are held accountable when they
    commit MURDER of another human being for no apparent reason, other than their complexion.

    Failure to overhaul this broken system will result in further protests, mass demonstrations and
    an inevitable “race war”!!!!!

    • A lynch mob is when hundreds or thousands of angry people gather to call for the death of a person in the name of Justice. Linda where can we find such lynch mobs today. Hint, they are in the news.

  5. blackspeak on said:

    People who practice and promote the social material system of white supremacy take their victims wherever they can find them. From Trayvon Martin (remember him), to Eric Garner, and every black or non-white people in between. They seek out there prey, like lions seek gazelles. The dumber, weaker and powerless victims, the better they are for victimization. The smarter, stronger and better educated, are less likely, but certainly not immune, to become victimized… This is why it is so important for non-whites, especially young black males to place the highest priority on education. Otherwise, there are just more unwitting “gazelles” in the world, eyes and minds, of people who practice and promote the social material system of white supremacy.

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