A New York grand jury decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner. The incident, which occurred in July, was caught on camera by multiple witnesses.
Do you agree with the grand jury’s decision? This is how some members of the msnbc.com community responded.
Anthony in Toronto: Police can do whatever they want whenever without penalty. A sick and sad state of affairs.
jbaker8935: I’d really like to understand how they got to this conclusion.
GabsDad: Come on. Did anyone honestly think there would be an indictment? There won’t be one in the Cleveland shooting either.
SplendidBaffle: I’m a bit surprised by this one. I thought the grand jury would have gone for some relatively lesser charge of excessive force or accidental homicide/manslaughter (I admittedly don’t know the legal classifications). I’m guessing the officer’s testimony to the grand jury was compelling. I’m wondering whether if the officer had done the same thing on someone that didn’t have the weight/heart/physical conditions that Eric Garner had, they would have been okay and that was a factor with the grand jury. No telling. This case though, like the Michael Brown case … this isn’t about race. There’s no evidence of racism. So don’t make it about race.
tnss: Agree or disagree, there is no way you could prove beyond a reasonable doubt during a trial that this cop wanted to kill this guy. How about you just put your hands behind your back and go to jail, get processed, and go home.
Scott-1727758: I’ve withheld judgment on the Ferguson case because I wasn’t there and only the grand jury had the facts. But I watched the cops kill this guy and how. You’re telling me NY law allows what we saw on that video? I’m reluctant to visit any city where cops need not fear publicly killing unarmed non-resistant civilians on camera.
SheriCu51: They are policemen, not Gods. The police also have a responsibility to treat people like human beings. They are police - they do not have the right or obligation to try, convict, and punish those suspected of crimes. They also do not have the right to kill someone for resisting arrest. In 1985, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Tennessee v. Garner, a 15-year-old boy who was shot in the back of the head by a police officer as he attempted to flee after a robbery. The ruling meant that cops could no longer legally kill someone only for attempting to escape; the officer must now have a reasonable belief that the suspect poses a dangerous threat to someone or had committed a violent felony.
@MykahlRaphael: I will say this, If you have never been black, you don’t have a clue on how this makes us feel. If he was fighting the police or not, this happens to us when we have done nothing wrong. So folks can say Eric [Garner] deserved it or whatever, but walk in the shoes of a black man. We all aren’t crazy, mad, gun-shooting, aspiring rappers, who just wants to collect something for nothing. This type of stuff happens to all black people, especially men, crazy (in your eyes) or not. It’s a shame, that instead of showing compassion and understanding, judgement is placed.
Rick-881466: The coroner ruled it a homicide. The only reason to go to a grand jury is to avoid taking responsibility for not charging the cop. We, society, have to put a stop to this, and we need to hold the cops and the prosecutors accountable.
Taylo019: Is this worth what we ultimately are askd to give? Our civility, or humanity. This situation could have been avoided. Don’t break the law. Don’t put yourself in situations where resisting arrest is a option. Would there be less backlash if the police used a taser or a club with the same outcome. No. This man had every right to file a lawsuit with the police if he believed his arrest was unwarranted. Our system has channels for making your voice heard. Change the law, start a petition, peacefully protest.
SheriCu51: For all of you that are saying that [Eric] Garner was committing a crime - when did he have his day in court to be convicted of the crime he was suspected of? You folks seem to miss the whole point of outrage. No one is saying that the police should not apprehend suspects. However, the police do not get to try, convict, and punish someone on the spot. This country has a long, long history of legal disparate treatment of people of color. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? By declaring the dead a criminal without having a trial, you only serve to highlight the bias toward people of color that these situations illustrate.
(Responses were edited for clarity)