Tag Archives: Eric Garner

Once more, NYPD disgraces itself

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke once again at the funeral of a fallen police officer.

And once again the officer’s comrades turned their back on the mayor.

Disgraceful, indeed.


Officer Wenjian Liu was laid to rest. His family flew here from China to honor their loved one. His new bride now must carry on without her man.

Liu was shot to death the other day, along with Officer Rafael Ramos, by a gunman seeking revenge for a grand jury declining to indict another officer in the choking death of a black man in Staten Island.

De Blasio has said about all he can say to honor the two slain officers. He’s offered sympathy, support, words of encouragement and high praise. And yet again — as they did at Officer Ramos’s funeral — the officers turned their back on the mayor.

They have dishonored themselves and spit in the face of their comrade’s loved ones.


NYPD disgraces itself in its grief

The New York Police Department has committed a disgraceful act of showmanship in the most inappropriate context imaginable.

It occurred during the funeral of one of its fallen comrades, Officer Rafael Ramos. And it happened when Mayor Bill de Blasio rose to speak in honor of the officer’s memory.


As the New York Times noted in a scathing — and spot on — editorial: “Mr. de Blasio isn’t going to say it, but somebody has to: With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect. They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments — a funeral of a fallen colleague — and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us gesture. In doing so, they also turned their backs on Mr. Ramos’s widow and her two young sons, and others in that grief-struck family.

“These are disgraceful acts, which will be compounded if anyone repeats the stunt at Officer Liu’s funeral on Sunday.”

The officers turned their backs on the mayor as he spoke about the officer’s heroism and his service to the city all of those officers have sworn to protect. He and Officer Wenjian Liu were gunned down the other day by someone angry over a Staten Island grand jury declining to indict an officer in the choking death of Eric Garner. The shooter then killed himself.

Why are the officers angry? They contend the mayor hasn’t done enough to protect the police department from this kind of senseless violence.

So, to make their point, they engage in a cheap stunt at a solemn event.

The mayor has stated every possible way he knows how that he supports the police department. He has spoken in honor of the officers who put their lives on the line every single day they go to work. He has heaped enormous praise on those who have fallen and has pledged his unwavering support for those who remain on duty.

This is the response he gets from the men and women of the NYPD?

The term “disgraceful” almost doesn’t seem adequate to describe what they have done not just to the mayor but to the families of the fallen officers.

Officers' death 'touched soul of nation'

Vice President Joe Biden said this week that the deaths of two New York City police officers “touched the soul of the nation.”

I’m not entirely sure what he means by that, but the deaths did spark an additional — and much-needed — national conversation about the right and wrong ways to respond to controversy involving law enforcement.


The vice president attended the funeral of Rafael Ramos, one of two officers gunned down in Brooklyn the other day by a goon who was responding to the choking death of Eric Garner in a Staten Island confrontation with officers. Garner’s death and the grand jury decision not to indict the officer who choked Garner to death, coming on the heels of the Ferguson, Mo., shooting of Michael Brown, has contributed a lot of unrest, violence and further criminal activity.

Ramos’s death along with fellow officer Wenjian Liu has touched many Americans at many levels. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the shootings “an attack on all of us.”

There can be no silver lining to be found in this incident, other than to call attention to the lawless response to perceived wrongs done by the criminal justice system.

The grand jury — in my view — erred on not indicting the officer who choked Eric Garner to death. No responsible individual, though, responds by attacking other police officers in the cowardly manner that resulted in the deaths of Ramos and Liu.

It does my heart some measure of good to see these officers honored. They were heroes of the first order. And yes, their deaths have touched our soul.


Obama haters go way beyond the pale

Good ever-loving grief. Can’t the Obama haters out there ever cease their incessant rants?

The latest comes from former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who said — are you ready for this? — that the president of the United States has implied that everyone should “hate the police.” Thus, Barack Obama is responsible for the assassination of two New York City police officers by a gunman who was angry over the disposition of the Eric Garner choking death case at the hands of a Staten Island policeman.


Yep, the one-time “America’s Mayor” has blamed the president for the actions of a lunatic.

Politifact managed to fact-check the ex-mayor’s assertion and has ruled it is a “Pants on Fire” lie. An outright falsehood.

The president has said nothing of the kind, ever, in all the discussion he’s had in public about the Garner case, or about the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Mo., or about the Trayvon Martin case in Sanford, Fla. All three incidents involved black individuals being killed by police officers or, in the Martin case, a private neighborhood security officer.

As Politifact reports: “Part of Giuliani’s point is that Obama has been empathetic to the protesters, which he has been — though cautiously so. And he has always discouraged violent protests and excessive police response.”

Indeed, the president has taken great pains to insist that protests remain peaceful and civil.

To suggest he has called on Americans to “hate” the men and women who serve and protect their communities is to tell an egregious lie.


Heroes do wear blue

Chris Martin is a blogger I follow and he has hit one right on the sweet spot regarding police officers.


He calls the good cops “true heroes.” His hook, of course, is the hideous shooting death of two New York City police officers by the goon who was retaliating for the choking death of Eric Garner in Staten Island — and the grand jury declining the police officer involved in that tragic event.

So the goon took matters into his own hands and shot the officers as they sat in their car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of NYC.

Martin writes eloquently about how society attaches the word “hero” to movie stars and athletes. I’ve said much the same thing over the years. He notes that good cops and teachers don’t get paid enough, particularly in relation to the aforementioned movie stars and athletes. He’s so very right.

Of course, Martin takes care to note that the bad police officers give the good ones a bad name.

Sure enough. But you can find bad seeds in every walk of life. I’ve run into bad shoe sales representatives. You’ll find bad grocery store clerks, bad plumbers and electricians, bad computer techs. Heck, I once even called out a rude barista at a coffee shop here in Amarillo.

Bad cops? Bad firefighters? Bad airline pilots, for heaven’s sake? Well, when those individuals perform badly, then all hell breaks loose — as it should.

But police officers put their lives on the line every single day. They might not step directly into harm’s way with every call they get on their radio — but they could.

I’m thinking, as is Martin, about the families of the policemen who were gunned down the other night in NYC. So, I’ll repeat the advice he writes in his blog: “When you lie down to sleep tonight, say a prayer for the police officer patrolling the dark streets in order to protect the innocent.”


This crime needs national attention

Two New York City police officers were assassinated over the weekend.

They were “profiled,” and that’s what it was, because they were wearing their uniforms. They were on duty, protecting the neighborhood from thugs, such as the one who killed them in cold blood.

Now we find out the killer was retaliating for the Eric Garner case, in which a man — Garner — died after being choked to death by a Staten Island police officer. A grand jury declined to indict the officer — and all hell broke loose.

Then this happened.


The dead officers are Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were sitting in their patrol car when Ismaayil Brinsley walked up to their car and shot them point-blank. Brinsley then fled to a subway station and killed himself. No great loss there.

The loss of the police officers, though, is tragic beyond description.

The men and women who take an oath to uphold the law and protect citizens from criminals — as Liu and Ramos were doing — put their lives on the line every day they report for work. They take that oath in good faith — virtually all of them do, anyway — and then do their duty.

That some moronic goon would respond to a tragedy by creating yet another tragedy simply defies one’s senses at almost any level.

This story deserves a lot of media attention, too.


Garner case is not about taxation

Conservative talking heads keep trying to change the subject while discussing the case involving Eric Garner, the black man choked to death in New York by a white police officer.

It’s reprehensible for them to try to turn the argument to something as ridiculous as taxation.


The video link attached here is difficult to watch. It features Fox News commentator Sean Hannity arguing with PBS commentator Tavis Smiley over the grand jury’s decision not to indict the New York police officer who choked Garner to death. It’s difficult because the two of them keep arguing over each other, each trying to outshout the other. Perhaps the funniest part is when Hannity (a white guy) tells Smiley (a black guy) that he needs “to be educated” about how African-Americans should react to the Garner case and the one involving Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

But in the midst of the verbal melee, Hannity — quite predictably — tries to suggest the real villain here is a government that insists on taxing cigarettes in an effort to get as much money as it can.

What the … ?

Garner had been approached by the police for selling “loose cigarettes.” He was selling them individually, I guess to make a few bucks on the side. I presume that’s an illegal act, which is why the cops were hassling Garner in the first place.

Well, he argued back, telling the police he wasn’t doing anything wrong. One of them grabbed Garner in a chokehold, wrestled him to the ground, ignoring Garner’s “I can’t breathe” pleas.

Garner passed out and then died.

And Hannity — along with other right-wingers — wants to say the real villain is a tax policy that prohibits people from selling cigarettes in the manner that Eric Garner sought to sell them?

I cannot believe the crassness of such an argument.


Will hearings solve anything?

House Speaker John Boehner says he’s open to having congressional hearings on the deaths of two black men at the hands of white police officers.

Good. It is fair to wonder, though, whether they’ll lead to anything of substance.


The men at issue are Michael Brown and Eric Garner, both of whom died in confrontations with police officers. The man who shot Brown to death in Ferguson, Mo., was no-billed by a grand jury; the officer who choked Garner to death in New York got the same pass from another grand jury.

Of the two cases, the one involving Garner is proving to be more troublesome. A video shows the officer clamping a chokehold on Garner, who was being arrested for selling “loose” cigarettes. The Brown case involves a lot of contradictions. The Garner case, to my mind — and the minds of millions of others — is much more clear cut: The grand jury blew it.

Congressional hearings will enable a more complete airing of the problems associated with these cases. Perhaps the question ought to be: Are these violent acts by police occurring with more frequency to black men than to white men, and if so, why is that?

Let’s advance this conversation through thoughtful congressional testimony, shall we, Mr. Speaker?


It appears nearly unanimous: grand jury blew it

The chatter all across the country — from the left and the right — appears to be saying the same thing about the death of Eric Garner at the hands of Staten Island, N.Y. police.

The grand jury blew it when it declined to indict a police officer for a crime when he choked Garner to death.

I finally saw the video last night showing Garner being questioned by cops over his alleged selling of “illegal cigarettes.” Garner pleaded with the police to leave him alone, that he wasn’t guilty of any crime. One of the cops then slapped a choke hold on Garner, wrestled him to the ground.

Garner was heard on the video telling the officers 11 times that “I can’t breathe.” He passed out and then died.

And the grand jury couldn’t find probable cause to accuse the officer of a crime?

What in the world has happened here?

The difference between this incident and the Ferguson Mo., case involving the shooting death of Michael Brown, a young black man, by Darren Wilson, a white former police officer, is crystal clear. The Ferguson case had too many conflicting accounts of what happened, whether Brown was surrendering or attacking Wilson. The Garner case is cut, dried and laid out there for everyone to see: The police officer — aided by several of his colleagues — slapped a killer chokehold on Garner.

Could he have lessened the pressure enough to allow Garner to breathe? I believe he could have done exactly that.

Whatever in the world the grand jury was thinking needs to be revealed. As Ricky told Lucy: You got some ‘splainin’ to do.


What? No indictment in NYC?

I have just watched a video of a New York City police officer subduing Eric Garner.

Garner was arguing with police that he wasn’t doing what they suspected he was doing. He asked the officers to “leave me alone.” One of the officers then clamped a chokehold on Garner, wrestling him to the ground.

Garner said several times, “I can’t breathe!” The officer didn’t heed the plea. Garner lost consciousness and then died.

A grand jury today returned a no indictment ruling against the officer, Daniel Pantaleo.


I have a simple question: What in the name of God’s Planet Earth was the grand jury thinking?

This is just another case of a white police officer killing a black citizen. Now, I’m not going to probe too deeply into the racial component here — white cop, black civilian. But why didn’t the officer let up on the chokehold after Garner told him repeatedly — repeatedly! — that he couldn’t breathe?

The no-bill here has provoked the predicted demonstrations in New York City. It has prompted even more debate over the state of race relations between law enforcement and the African-American community.

This non-indictment has me puzzled and perplexed, having seen the video evidence of what happened that day.

Based on what I saw on that video, the grand jury surely could have come back with something with which to charge the officer.

Those grand jurors and the district attorney’s office have some serious explaining to do.

I’m waiting. The nation is waiting.