Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The Bogus "Self-Defense" Argument

The NY Times has a piece up on the possible reasons for the grand jury to have decided to not indict Daniel Pantaleo on any charges.
Mr. Garner pulls his hands away, again raising the question of resistance. The difference in size between the officers and Mr. Garner is apparent. Whether Officer Pantaleo felt his life was threatened could also be an issue in whether he acted criminally. If the grand jury viewed Officer Pantaleo’s actions as self-defense, then there would be no crime, said Eugene O'Donnell, a former police officer and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
The NY Times is using stills to make it's case. This is misleading. When we see the full video of Garner we see that though he did indeed pull his arm back from the arresting officer, he did not, I repeat did not make any moves whatsoever to assault any of the officers. Once he pulled his arm away he immediately put them back up in front of him with his palms facing forward. He did not grab at any of the officers. He did not ball up his fists. He did not attempt to flee the scene. Garner's actions were threatening to none of the officers. Therefore none of them can claim that they were in fear of their lives or even bodily harm. Even if they did, since the video does not support such a claim.


Officer Pantaleo reaches around Mr. Garner’s neck. He holds Mr. Garner in what William J. Bratton, the police commissioner, said appeared to be a chokehold. The New York City Police Department has banned the use of this particular hold, but the grand jury would only consider this to the extent that it indicated whether the officer was intentionally trying to kill Mr. Garner, acting “recklessly,” or in a “criminally negligent” manner, the legal definitions of various levels of murder and manslaughter. [My underlines]
This goes back to my discussion of intent. It is nigh impossible to convict a police officer on a charge that requires intent simply due to the definitive nature of the occupation. So we put the "intentionally" aside.

That leaves us with "reckless" and "criminally negligent manner". If the use of a chokehold is banned by the NYPD and this officer used the banned technique then he was acting recklessly. The very fact that there is a ban on the use of chokeholds by the NYPD (probably for the very reason we have this case) is enough probable cause against the officer. He may still be acquitted in the due course of a trial, but there is enough probable cause to charge him with reckless behavior at the very least.

What it comes down to is WHAT the prosecutor asked the grand jury to consider. While the deliberations of the grand jury is secret for understandable reasons I think it is within reason for the public to know what charges they had to consider.