Saturday, August 09, 2014

Eric Garner's Death Due To Homicide

Eric Garner regularly sold individual cigarettes, called loosies, for 75 cents or 2 for a dollar. Eric bought the cigarettes for $5 a pack and sold them for $7 per pack up to $15 a pack sold individually. Eric's profit was about $150 per day. In Midtown, a pack can cost $12.50 so there was a demand for Eric's cigarettes.

Eric has been arrested several times for selling untaxed cigarettes, which is a misdemeanor. He pays a fine and goes home.

Eric was recently arrested again. The policeman in this situation should have issued a citation or a summons and ordered Eric to stop selling. Instead the policeman called for backup with the intent of taking Eric into custody.

Eric knew that being arrested was improper and he protested civilly. The police decided to use force and wrestled Eric to the sidewalk. One policeman, with a record of excessive force, put Eric in an unlawful choke hold that is specifically banned by police regulations.

Eric complained repeatedly that he could not breathe but the police held him down and cuffed him. Eric lost consciousness. The onlookers called on the police to help Eric but they were ignored.

Two emergency medical technicians showed up and checked for a pulse but did nothing else.

While the police and EMTs stood by, Eric died.

The EMTs have been suspended or fired. Some of the police have been placed on modified duty. The medical examiner has ruled that Eric's death was a homicide.

At least one policeman is expected to be charged with 2nd degree murder or manslaughter.

Manslaughter, in my opinion isn't enough. Charging one policeman is not enough. All of the police and the EMTs stood over Eric as he died at their feet. Each of these professional guardians of our safety chose to ignore Eric's medical distress. Had they attempted to relieve his distress in any way and he still died, I would charge all but one policeman with manslaughter and the policeman who choked Eric with 2nd degree murder.

But not one of them acted to prevent Eric's death. They knew he was having difficulty breathing and did not act. They knew when he lost consciousness and did not act. They knew his heart had stopped when the EMT checked Eric but none of them took any action. They knowingly allowed Eric to remain in a state of stress that could and did kill him.

They should be charged with premeditated murder because they decided, at a time when Eric was still alive, to withhold assistance that would have saved Eric's life. Assistance that they are entrusted to provide.

Eric's death was not accidental. It was not unintentional. Eric was intentionally murdered for selling cigarettes for 75 cents.

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