Patterico's Pontifications

7/16/2019

No Federal Charges For NYPD Officer In Eric Garner’s Death

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:46 pm



[guest post by Dana]

The decision comes one day before the deadline for charges to be filed:

A New York City police officer will not face federal charges in the death of Eric Garner, the unarmed black man heard in a video repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” after he was put in an apparent chokehold, according to a person familiar with the case.

The Justice Department on Tuesday concluded its five-year investigation and will not bring civil rights or criminal charges against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen in the video with his arm around Garner’s neck.

This is rather interesting:

Attorney General William Barr made the decision not to bring charges against Pantaleo, siding with a Justice Department team from New York over the Civil Rights Division in Washington, due to concerns that prosecutors could not successfully prove the officer acted willfully, a senior Justice Department official said.

However:

[A]ttorneys in the Civil Rights Division thought charges could have been filed, according to two DOJ officials.

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said today:

“Like many of you, I have watched that video many times, and each time I’ve watched it, I’m left with the same reaction: that the death of Eric Garner was a tragedy,” Donoghue said. “The job of a federal prosecutor, however, is not to let our emotions dictate our decisions. Our job is to review the evidence gathered during the investigation, like the video, to assess whether we can prove that a federal crime was committed.”

“The video and the other evidence gathered in the investigation does not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Pantaleo acted willfully in violation of federal law,” Donoghue said.

Garner’s cause of death was listed by the city’s medical examiner as a “compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”

Officer Pantaleo was stripped of his gun and badge and was placed on desk duty in 2014. At that time, the president of the city’s largest police union called Pantaleo’s reassignment a “completely unwarranted, knee-jerk reaction.”

Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner said today about the decision:

We’re here with heavy hearts because the DOJ has failed us. Although we looked for better from them, five years ago my son said ‘I can’t breathe’ 11 times, and today we can’t breathe because they have let us down.

Tomorrow will mark five years since Garner’s death.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

33 Responses to “No Federal Charges For NYPD Officer In Eric Garner’s Death”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (bb0678)

  2. Chokeholds were supposed to be banned by the NYPD, 25 years ago, for exactly the reason why this guy died due to it. https://web.archive.org/web/20150726014849/http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/24/nyregion/kelly-bans-choke-holds-by-officers.html

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  3. Col. Klink,

    The NYPD spent $35 million to retrain cops to avoid using chokeholds, but they continue to use them anyway. There had a been a blanket ban put in place on the tactic in 1993, but Chief Bratton changed the policy in 2016 allowing an “exigent circumstances” exemption. In 2018, there were 133 complaints made against officers using chokeholds.

    Dana (bb0678)

  4. Where’s the anger for NY lawmakers for turning the police into tax enforcers?

    It’s the policies like this that increases friction between state-actors and the public.

    whembly (51f28e)

  5. If the man couldn’t breathe
    Better cough up some cheese

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  6. So, it was found innocent by the NYC judicial system and this was the 2nd bite of the apple. And it supposedly not “Double Jeopardy” because it was about civil rights and federal law. The policeman was ORDERED to use a so-called Choke-hold by a Female Black Sargent. So how his death is a matter of civil rights is beyond. Also good to know that if a white guy like me gets the same treatment, I’m outta luck. Its just a white policeman making a mistake. BTW, how many $millions did his family get in the wrongful death settlement?

    rcocean (1a839e)

  7. When an ambulance arrived on scene, two medics and two EMTs inside the ambulance did not administer any emergency medical aid[60] or promptly place him on a stretcher.

    He seems to have died of medical malpractice. The EMT’s did nothing to save him, and he was pronounced DOA at the Hospital.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  8. Since we’re going down memory lane you may remember this from December 2014:

    Two uniformed NYPD officers were shot dead Saturday afternoon as they sat in their marked police car on a Brooklyn street corner — in what investigators believe was a crazed gunman’s ­assassination-style mission to avenge Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  9. there is that, but there was also Loretta lynch’s extortion scheme, re the weiner laptop,

    narciso (d1f714)

  10. The policeman was ORDERED to use a so-called Choke-hold by a Female Black Sargent.

    I saw the video five years ago and I just re-watched it. No one ordered Pantaleo to use a chokehold, black female or otherwise. He confronted Garner, then choked the kid to death. It was his choice to use that maneuver, no one else’s. Sgt. Adonis was restricted to desk duty because she was in charge and failed to supervise the scene.

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  11. I watched it too, Paul. Your observations match mine.

    Dana (bb0678)

  12. @ rc ocean,

    He seems to have died of medical malpractice. The EMT’s did nothing to save him, and he was pronounced DOA at the Hospital.

    You must have missed this part of the post:

    Garner’s cause of death was listed by the city’s medical examiner as a “compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”

    Dana (bb0678)

  13. Garner’s cause of death was listed by the city’s medical examiner as a “compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”

    That’s just wrong. Medical examiners too are sometimes affected by publitiy.

    Eric Garner had an asthma attack, brought on by the stress of being pulled down by the
    policeman. In no way did anything the policeman do stop him from breathing.

    And then they thought he was playing possum in an act of civil disobedeince, which this had sort of started as.

    He was killed by the same thing that killed his daughter.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/30/nyregion/erica-garner-dead.html

    Ms. Garner had been placed in a medically induced coma last week after an asthma episode precipitated a major heart attack. She was being treated at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn, and died there.

    The family still didn’t admit the truth

    Sammy Finkelman (dec35d)

  14. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/nyregion/eric-garner-death-daniel-pantaleo-chokehold.html

    Medical Examiner Testifies Eric Garner Died of Asthma Caused by Officer’s Chokehold

    The doctor who performed an autopsy on Eric Garner testified on Wednesday that a police officer choked him with enough force that it triggered a “lethal cascade” of events, ending in a fatal asthma attack.

    The doctor, Floriana Persechino, said the officer’s chokehold and the compression of Mr. Garner’s chest during his arrest on Staten Island in 2014 “set into motion a lethal sequence.”

    Though Mr. Garner had high blood pressure and chronic asthma, Dr. Persechino, a veteran city medical examiner, stood by her finding that his death was a homicide caused by the officer’s use of force. “The chokehold is a significant initial factor of the cascade,” she said.

    Of course. But it was not reasonably to be ecpected.

    His daughter died the same way, without any policeman starting the cascade of events.

    Sammy Finkelman (dec35d)

  15. Sammy, the Medical Examiner concluded that Garner died of an asthma attack brought on by the chokehold, which triggered a “lethal cascade” of events. She testified under oath that “the chokehold is a significant initial factor of the cascade.”

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  16. Yes, she didn’t order the choke-hold. Kizzy Adonis the black female Sargent ordered the arrest. She also did nothing while the so-called choke hold was applied. And did not stop her subordinate from applying it. Further, she did not order CPR to be administered – instead she waited for the Ambulance to arrive.

    No one seems to explain why the EMT did NOTHING even though Garner was supposedly dead and chocked to death. They didn’t even think he was dead until they arrived at the Hospital.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  17. BTw, why is Google constantly highlighting the NYT’s like they are the ONLY News source? Its either that or the WaPo or CNN or the 3 networks. I’d like to see the actual Police documents – but i guess that’s impossible.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  18. From the M.E. spokeswoman at the time:

    Medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said Friday that Eric Garner’s July 17 death has been ruled a homicide.

    Bolcer says his death was caused by “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” She says asthma and heart disease were contributing factors.

    This adds context:

    But “homicide” in this context doesn’t mean what you think. It’s one of five categories medical examiners use to label causes of death and it indicates that “someone’s intentional actions led to the death of another person,” says Gregory G. Davis, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners. The other four labels are suicide, accident, natural, and undetermined, Davis says.

    So in a medical examiner’s report “homicide” just means one person intentionally did something that led to the death of someone else. It doesn’t mean the death was intentional and it doesn’t mean it was a crime.

    Criminally negligent homicide, on the other hand, is a class E felony in New York State. Someone who commits it can go to jail for around one to four years. A lot of things are class E felonies in New York State, like arson, computer trespass, auto stripping and residential mortgage fraud.

    Was Pantaleo criminally negligent in killing Garner? He was, according to New York State law, if he failed “to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk” that Garner would die from his actions, and that failure was “a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”

    Nobody should dispute that Pantaleo committed homicide—that fact was determined Aug. 1.

    Dana (bb0678)

  19. #15 So, in other words its just what i stated. He died of a heart attack and not a choke hold. He didn’t Choke to death. He had an asthma attack – and then a heart attack that was brought on by the choking.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  20. And if he’d gotten proper medical care – he probably would be alive.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  21. So, in other words its just what i stated. He died of a heart attack and not a choke hold. He didn’t Choke to death. He had an asthma attack – and then a heart attack that was brought on by the choking.

    Just like if I throw you off a building, the cause of death is impact with the ground, so I’m fine.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  22. i can see why the grand jury refused to indict. 4 cops are struggling with Garner under the supervision of their black female Sargent and only one white cop who’s committed “homicide”. Ridiculous.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  23. It would actually be helpful to read the link on the ME’s testimony. Garner died of an asthma attack–not a heart attack–brought on by the chokehold.

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  24. As for the EMTs, they came into the situation without NYPD telling them the gravity of the situation.

    From the start, the EMTs who responded actually knew very little about what they were responding to. The call came in as unknown, which is a low priority. They didn’t know that police officers were involved. They didn’t know what Eric Garner’s condition was, all information that could have helped them prepare.
    And then, once they’re on the scene, there are a series of sort of communication breakdowns that seems to have contributed to what appears to be a disorganized response. Their — the oxygen supplies are not kept by his side. In fact, they are carried away from his side by an EMT trainee who is on the scene.
    There are no fire department supervisors who are assisting in care on the scene, which is typical in a case of cardiac arrest. But, again, this didn’t start as a case of that level of seriousness.

    The blame should really go to the obvious culprit: Pantaleo, for using an illegal chokehold. It wasn’t as if he didn’t have backup.

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  25. Nobody should dispute that Pantaleo committed homicide—that fact was determined Aug. 1.

    Errm, no. Whether somebody committed homicide is determined beyond a reasonable doubt by a judge or jury following a trial. No such trial took place. In fact, the opposite happened. A grand jury “exonerated” Pantaleo, even after hearing the ME, by finding that there was no probable cause to hold him for trial on a charge of homicide.

    Moreover, Garner was not a “kid”. He was 43 yeas old and weighed 395 pounds. Pantaleo was 29 and less than half his size. Possibly another reason why the grand jury was not going to make him the fall guy. And here’s a little bit more on “the kid”:

    Eric Garner (September 15, 1970 – July 17, 2014) was a 43-year-old African-American man.[7][8] He had been a horticulturist at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, but quit for health reasons.[9] Garner, who was married to Esaw Garner,[10] had been described by his friends as a “neighborhood peacemaker” and as a generous, congenial person.[11] He was the father of six children, had three grandchildren,[9] and at the time of his death had a 3-month-old child.[12]

    Garner had been arrested by the NYPD more than thirty times since 1980 on charges such as assault, resisting arrest, and grand larceny.[13][14] According to an article in The New York Times many of these arrests had been for allegedly selling unlicensed cigarettes.[15] In 2007, he filed a handwritten complaint[16] in federal court accusing a police officer of conducting a cavity search of him on the street, “digging his fingers in my rectum in the middle of the street” while people passed by.[9] Garner had, according to The New York Times, “recently … told lawyers at Legal Aid that he intended to take all the cases against him to trial”.[9] At the time of the incident, he was out on bail for selling untaxed cigarettes, driving without a license, marijuana possession, and false impersonation.[17]

    nk (dbc370)

  26. Garner had been arrested by the NYPD more than thirty times since 1980 on charges such as assault, resisting arrest, and grand larceny.

    And since, according to their own testimony, not a single officer knew that, it matters not one whit.

    And as was explained above:

    But “homicide” in this context doesn’t mean what you think. It’s one of five categories medical examiners use to label causes of death and it indicates that “someone’s intentional actions led to the death of another person,” says Gregory G. Davis, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners. The other four labels are suicide, accident, natural, and undetermined, Davis says.
    So in a medical examiner’s report “homicide” just means one person intentionally did something that led to the death of someone else. It doesn’t mean the death was intentional and it doesn’t mean it was a crime.

    His actions caused the death of another, homicide, the justice system chose not to prosecute him for it, two things can be true at once. Also, Pantaleo isn’t some poster boy for good behavior.

    NEW YORK — The white New York City police officer whose choke hold led to the death of an unarmed black man has been sued three times for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of other blacks he and fellow cops arrested.

    So bad decisions by two allegedly bad guys=tragedy.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  27. When I was commenting at dKos before Kos kicked me out, one of the commenters stated that Laura Bush committed a homicide when she was 17, which got my hackles up but is nevertheless technically true. She committed an act that caused the death of another person, but it was a tragic accident, not a crime whatsoever.

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  28. It still requires proximate cause. “X did this and that’s why Y died.”

    the Medical Examiner concluded that Garner died of an asthma attack brought on by the chokehold, which triggered a “lethal cascade” of events. She testified under oath that “the chokehold is a significant initial factor of the cascade.”

    Legally, that’s babble, not proximate cause.

    nk (dbc370)

  29. I am learning that nk is smart, funny and formidable.

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  30. And then, once they’re on the scene, there are a series of sort of communication breakdowns that seems to have contributed to what appears to be a disorganized response. Their — the oxygen supplies are not kept by his side. In fact, they are carried away from his side by an EMT trainee who is on the scene. There are no fire department supervisors who are assisting in care on the scene, which is typical in a case of cardiac arrest. But, again, this didn’t start as a case of that level of seriousness.

    Thanks for posting this. But once again we’re back to the New York Times AGAIN – this time via PBS. LOL. And what’s with the weird English. “There are no..”? Why does Muller, from NYT, keep switching between present and past tense? Anyway, “communication breakdowns” is just an excuse. Obviously, the first thing they should have done is taken his vital signs and determined if he was breathing, had a heart beat, was responsive, etc.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  31. And if the police did NOT tell the EMT”s how grave the situation was, that was the Police Sargent’s fault, It wasn’t the job of the low ranked subordinate.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  32. Because

    Not all homicides are crimes. However, all killings of humans are included in the homicide definition. Many homicides, such as murder and manslaughter, violate criminal laws. Others, such as a killing committed in justified self-defense, are not criminal. Illegal killings range from manslaughter to murder, with multiple degrees of each representing the gravity of the crime.

    No matter where a homicide falls on the criminal spectrum, it may also bring a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. In the case of a homicide, the family of the victim may sue the alleged perpetrator to collect damages for that person causing the death of their loved one. While wrongful death lawsuits offer monetary results rather than criminal punishment, they also have a much lower standard of proof than the criminal standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Therefor, when sued for wrongful death

    New York City has agreed to pay $5.9m to the family of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old man who died on Staten Island last July after being placed in an illegal chokehold by a police officer. The New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer, announced the settlement in a statement. “Following a judicious review of the claim and facts of this case, my office was able to reach a settlement with the estate of Eric Garner that is in the best interests of all parties,” Stringer said.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  33. 16. rcocean (1a839e) — 7/16/2019 @ 4:39 pm

    No one seems to explain why the EMT did NOTHING

    That’s easy. They thought he was playing possum, in order to make the arrest more difficult. People do that sometimes when they oppose a law. Eric Garner had said this stops now.

    They gently asked him to get up.

    even though Garner was supposedly dead and chocked to death.

    He wasn’t supposedly choked to death. It was an asthma attack, brought u, true by the stress. Several different policemen were sitting on him for about seven seconds. When they let him go, he said :”I can’t breathe.”

    Eric Garner did not have an asthma inhaler – he just didn’t have any such thing because his asthmas was untreated, and probably he didn’t want to be diagnosed that way.

    I think they may have looked for an asthma inhaler. They didn’t find one.

    They didn’t even think he was dead until they arrived at the Hospital.

    They didn’t imagine he could die. They thought he was engaged in civil disobedience.

    Sammy Finkelman (0cf810)


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