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Recently, the Big Burrito erupted into protests after Italian-American Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo was cleared by a grand jury of all criminal responsibility in the death of Black man Eric Garner who died after being allegedly held in a banned chokehold by Pantaleo during an attempt to restrain and arrest him. Protesters led and goaded by the new master of New York, "Rev." Al Sharpton shut down the West Side Highway and the Verrazano Bridge, along with a bunch of department stores in Manhattan. And LeBron James, the National Bandits Association star wore a shirt with Eric Garner's supposed final words, "I can't breathe", on it.
As Pat Buchanan recently wrote:
Wednesday night, thousands of “protesters” disrupted the annual Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, conducted a “lie-in” in Grand Central, blocked Times Square, and shut down the West Side Highway that scores of thousands of New Yorkers use to get home.
That the rights of hundreds of thousands of visitors and New Yorkers were trampled upon by these self-righteous protesters did not prevent their being gushed over by TV commentators.
On the surface of it, the undeniably tragic death of Eric Garner appears to be the result of an inexcusable overreaction by Officer Pantaleo and the NYPD. After all, what was the crime that required four officers to take down Garner? Was he suspected of murder, rape, robbery, burglary, or even the possession of marijuana? Nope. He was guilty of that terrible, blood-curdling felony: the possession and sale of unlicensed cigarettes. Smells like anarcho-tyranny to me. In addition, the chokehold, which Pantaleo is accused of performing on Garner has been banned by the NYPD itself over two decades ago in 1993 when the future Police Officer Pantaleo was eight. Maybe, it was just banned on paper, while being kept on as an informal "super move" in the arsenal of the NYPD. Also, in several civil lawsuits, Pantaleo was accused of arresting people without cause and humiliating them, as well as lying in official documents, a practice that is more common than most people think.
On the other hand, Garner who was a hulking 6'3, 350 lbs (making him roughly 150 lbs overweight), suffered from asthma, heart disease, and hypertension. Rep. Peter King had a point when he said that a healthier man would not die under the same circumstances. Garner, described as a "gentle giant" by both his neighborhood friends and Ann Coulter and a "neighborhood peacemaker" actually had more than 30 previous arrests, including for assault, resisting arrest, grand larceny, marijuana possession, and false impersonation. As the New York Times wrote, "most days", this father of six would stand on the street in his neighborhood hawking loose cigarettes. As police officers approached him, Garner, who obviously knew that his business venture was illegal and disruptive, became irate and started arguing with them. Hardly, the actions of a neighborhood peacemaker. There are also those inconvenient words in the Medical Examiner's report, which ascribe Garner's death to "compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police", not asphyxiation.
Unmentioned by the mainstream media and the protestors is the inconvenient fact that the NYPD Sergeant who supervised the fatal arrest was Kizzy Adoni, a Black woman along with plainclothes NYPD Sergeant Dhanan Saminath, a man of Indian descent. Adoni and Saminath wrote in official reports that "The perpetrator’s condition did not seem serious and he did not appear to get worse" and Garner "did not appear to be in great distress". LAPD Sergeant Stacey Koon supervised Rodney King's arrest and was crucified by the media even though he performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a Black transvestite prostitute with AIDS who collapsed on the floor of his precinct and was respected by his Black fellow officers. Adoni and Saminath, on the other hand, were kept out of the sights of the mainstream media and Adoni was even offered immunity to testify against Pantaleo to the grand jury.
As conservative commentators pointed out, the fact that Eric Garner's death occurred during an arrest supervised by a Black female cop is probably a major reason the mainstream media was not as outraged about the grand jury's decision. The other reason, wrote Steve Sailer, was that the specter of the Crown Heights riot is still haunting New York City.
"Liberals are imprisoned by a great myth - that America is a land where black boys and men are stalked by racist white cops, and alert and brave liberals must prevent even more police atrocities", wrote Pat Buchanan. Mere facts and realities will not stand in the way of this massive and at times, deadly, delusion.
I would argue that another reason the Garner death did not prompt the response as the Ferguson event is that New York City is supposed to be the great, shining triumph of multiculturalism and left-wing policy. What the media wants to promote are supposed examples of "racism" perpetrated by cops in the heartland, or preferably the south, not in New York City or San Francisco. To promote a story, like the Garner case, would be seen in some ways as an admission of the failures of decades of left-wing, multicultural politics. That is why the Trayvon Martin case at first appeared like a home run for the media; a white racist named George Zimmerman, killed a little black boy, whose only crime was being black and carrying a bag of Skittles, in the racist Old Confederacy. The story came undone when the inconvenient fact that George Zimmerman was a short, fat "white Hispanic" and was tackled and beaten by Martin, who was a tall, athletic black man in peak physical condition. What the media fails to recognize is that all of the false cases of racism that they promote only serve to undermine their arguments. In a country of 350 million people, even I'm amazed that the radical Left can't find even one legitimate case of white on black police murder.
"Rep. Peter King had a point when he said that a healthier man would not die under the same circumstances."
Certainly, a healthier man might have survived an unwarranted assault by a half-dozen armed strangers. The same was true of Kelly Thomas, the mentally ill man who was beaten to death by cops in the streets of Fullerton, California.
Not an "unwarranted assault", but a lawful, warranted (but warrantless) attempt at arrest. As for "armed strangers", yes, that's a cute way to describe police officers. I personally would prefer the cops in my neighborhood to be armed strangers than unarmed acquaintances. On the other hand, given the late Garner's constant presence on the sidewalk, selling cigarettes, the cops probably knew him pretty well, so they weren't strangers at all. He certainly was no stranger to the criminal justice system.
As a fellow denizen of the Big Burrito (a.k.a, Sodom & Gomorrah on the Hudson), I would like to offer a few comments. First, it was stated that "the mainstream media was not as outraged about the grand jury's decision." From my perspective it appeared that the NYC media (including right-centrist ones) waged crocodile tears over the decision. Of course, Governor Cuomo and his lap-dog Attorney General professed to be "shocked, shocked" about the perfidy of the decision thereby egging on the outraged citizenry (e.g., Columbia University law students who suffered traumatic injuries to their delicate liberal sensitivities). Second, the NYC media questioned the integrity and judgment of the local district attorney who handled the case, despite the fact that the DA was well aware of the fact that all his actions would be thoroughly scrutinized by Eric Holder's minions (i.e., attack dogs.) BTW, it appears to me that the first three paragraphs of the blog were attorney-talk. I suppose one has to keep well-honed one's vocational skills.
Seems the me the lesson to be learned from all these incidents is this: When a police officer gives directions in a public space it is generally becoming to follow along. Even if one is well within one's rights. Especially if one is engaged in criminal behavior.
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