The last words of Eric Garner


Just to be clear, because I know no one at Boing Boing want’s to intentionally mischaracterize a volatile socio-political issue, killed for resisting arrest. Eric Garner did not deserve to die for resisting arrest. It doesn’t really matter what he was being arrested for.

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It was an unnecessary death but this man was known to the police…he had evidently been arrested 30 times before and we do not know what had transpired during this arrests.

You should have stopped right there. The rest of your sentence is irrelevant.


I’m not smart enough. What should we do about this? I mean what really works?

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This seems to be different from the shooting incidents, as I assume that the cop in this case did not want to kill, but instead employed a tactic that he had already applied in other cases without anyone getting killed.

Taking someone into a chokehold is inherently risky business. Once in a while, the victim will have a medical condition and/or the police officer will misjudge his own strength, and someone ends up dead.

There are some situations where it might be necessary during police work. If a policeman can use a chokehold instead of shooting someone, I’m all for it. Even if once in a while someone ends up just as dead as if he had been shot. In other cases, a less adversarial approach works even better.

So, in order to prevent future deaths like this, it is not enough to reiterate that “he did not deserve to die”. That much is probably obvious even to the cop who did it. That cop seems not to have cared enough, but he probably did not want him to die.

Instead, the point must be made that Garner probably did not deserve to be taken into a chokehold.

It would probably be enough for most reasonable people to point out that Garner was not being violent or disrespectful and didn’t deserve to be treated with any physical force or disrespect either, let alone being put in a chokehold that is against police protocol precisely because it could be life threatening.


If people could get away from “deserve” it’d go a long way to ending confusion in the discussion.

A word that does not have the same problem is “warrant”.

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Never assume people to be reasonable… :frowning:
And we shouldn’t even talk about whether he was being disrespectful, because I absolutely expect cops to remain non-violent and respectful when confronted with a disrespectful person.
(Side note: I consider patience in the face of disrespect the single most important skill that a police officer needs to learn).

I’m actually sadly underinformed about the range of non-lethal and mostly-non-lethal methods of subduing someone that are available to the police, and what their relative risks are, and how effective they are. There are hard tradeoffs to be made, and you probably can’t arrive at a clear-cut answer without looking at the numbers (cf. the various discussions about tasers, about armed vs. unarmed policemen, etc.).

You mean other than the video showing us exactly what happened and what was said? The transcript at the top of this thread? Anything like that?


@willy is trying to say that because Garner was known to police & has been arrested before that might somehow justify or explain the police response to a polite, respectful & nonviolent Garner.

@willy is wrong.


I’m pretty sure Willy meant “those arrests.” I’m taking that from the larger context of his post:

This begs several questions: He had been arrested 30 (thirty!) times and he’s not in prison? Sounds like harassment to me.

He’s certainly dealt with this group of officers enough to be exasperated with the bullshit, and to recognize some of them personally.

So if they recognized him and had arrested him numerous times, why did this arrest spiral into a use-of-force scenario?

Edit: I see @FunkDaddy has already responded, better and more succinctly than I have.


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