“I’ve been following this case from the start. You had a 350-pound person who was resisting arrest. The police were trying to bring him down as quickly as possible. If he had not had asthma and a heart condition and was so obese, he almost definitely would not have died from this,” the Republican representative said. He reiterated that he supported the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer for the Staten Island man’s death.
Garner, a 6’3 father of six, is seen on video captured by a bystander pleading with police not to arrest him after they accuse him of selling un-taxed cigarettes, a crime that usually warrants a simple ticket. He’s then put in an apparent chokehold by an officer, who pushes him to the ground. Several officers surround Garner, pressing him onto the ground as he gasps “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”
While the harrowing video has captured the country’s attention after being played often on television, it wasn’t enough to convince a grand jury. Officials announced on Wednesday that the grand jury did not indict the police officer who put Garner in the chokehold. The decision set off protests nationwide. The Department of Justice said they were launching an investigation into Garner’s death.
King wasn’t the only Republican to point fingers at something other than the actual, physical cause of Garner’s death: Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul alleged that cigarette taxes were to blame for Garner’s tragic death.
The Garner family filed notice of a $75 million lawsuit agains the city, Police Department, and various officeS. The officer seen in the video putting Garner in a chokehold offered his condolensces to the family.
His wife Esaw Garner responded simply: “Hell, no. The time for remorse would have been when my husband was yelling to breathe. That would have been time for him to show some type of remorse, or some type of care for another human being’s life.”