Friday, December 5, 2014

Talking heads are missing the point

Daniel Pantaleo killed Eric Garner by putting him in a choke hold on a Staten Island sidewalk. But Mr. Pantaleo faced no legal sanction for his act because he wore a badge.

In yet another example of how prosecutors manipulate the grand jury process, a New York City grand jury followed the lead of District Attorney Daniel Donovan and returned a no bill against Mr. Pantaleo.

According to the DA's Office, the grand jurors deliberated for about two months, interviewed 50 witnesses and viewed four videos. And, at the end of the presentation, I'm pretty certain the prosecutor said something along the lines of "do what y'all think is right." That's the prompt to return a no bill.

In the aftermath of the DA's decision not to pursue an indictment, talking heads have been calling for increased training for police officers. They have called for an end to the use of choke holds. They have talked about working to change the image the police department has in minority communities.

But all of these suggestions miss the larger point. Mr. Garner was murdered because he was selling single cigarettes on the sidewalk. The very fact that a police officer would take a man to the ground and choke him to death for selling cigarettes on the street isn't a problem with training.

Far from it, in fact.

The Garner case is yet another episode that illustrates the simple fact that the police are but tools of social control for the ruling class. Until we come to understand this, the killings of unarmed black and brown men will continue.

1 comment:

Lee said...

The prosecutor failed to get an indictment because he did not want an indictment just like with Darron Wilson. I am reminded of the odd adage applicable where a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich....