Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Eric Garner Given The Sean Bell Treatment?

To those of us who pay attention to the facts, we know that the proper comparison here is not to Mike Brown but to Sean Bell.

When the Sean Bell was killed and his buddy Guzman shot up, I watched that trial closely and learned a few things that I discussed in a post after that verdict came down:

If you read all the counts you'll note that there is NO second degree manslaughter charge against Isnora or Oliver for shooting at Guzman. This is significant because first degree manslaughter charges requires the proof of intent. I said back in march of 2007 that intent would not be provable. Second degree manslaughter requires no intent. Once it was shown in court, by both Isnora and Oliver that the target of their weapons fire was Guzman, it didn't matter what happened to Bell (case wise) Bell becomes collateral damage from the assault on Guzman. So the question that needs to be asked is why was there no second degree manslaughter (or attempted manslaughter if such a charge exists) leveled at Isnora and Oliver? If the prosecutor did not ask for such an indictment, was he or his office acting in concert with the police department to assure that the officers would be acquitted?
This is significant. We do not know what charges the grand jury in this case were given, thus we cannot cast aspersions on those jury members because they cannot indict someone on charges that they were not told to consider.

What is most problematic with this is that Eric Garner, who was admittedly resisting arrest, did not pose any threat to any of the 3-4 police officers who were surrounding him. Garner did not assault any of the officers. He had no weapons. He was not a suspect of a felony. He was not a suspect of a just committed crime. He was not a fugitive from justice. He had his hands in full view with palms facing the officers. There is no debate as to whether Eric Garner posed a threat to anyone at any time. Therefore it is without dispute that it was the police officer(s) that were responsible for escalating what appears to be a civil offense (a ticket or desk appearance).

Secondly, while it is not illegal for a police officer to use a choke hold, it is in fact banned by the NYPD. The officers on the scene knew this. It is clear to anyone watching the video that a choke hold was applied to him. This is beyond dispute.

It is beyond dispute that the officer using that hold used that pressure on his neck to take him to the ground, severely limiting his ability to breath and possibly causing damage to his trachea. For a person who suffers asthma, that is deadly.

Thirdly we hear Garner say clearly that he could not breath. Yet the officer kept applying pressure to Garner's head in total disregard for his distress.

These actions were clearly negligent. There is no doubt about that. If the DA did not ask the Grand Jury to consider any charge that included negligence then we have yet another piece of evidence of systemic failure to hold the police responsible for their actions.

If the grand jury was instructed to consider any charge that included negligence (or non-intent) and they failed to indict (which is not the same as finding someone guilty) then the jury made a grievous error.

I understand that there is a request to have some of the evidence presented to the public. I would be interested to see what they considered and what exactly they heard or saw, aside from the self serving testimony of the police officer, that would make them decline to indict on any charge that did not require intent.