Ten percent of you were meant to be police officers. You have it in your blood and bones and you will excel in this profession. For 80% of you, this is a job. It’s a job you will do well and honorably for your career with the NYPD. Ten percent of you should never have made it this far. You are too dumb, too damaged, or too criminal to be police officers and you very well will be hurt, killed, or arrested in the years to come.
This story is one everyone should read. I’m fairly fast at bashing bad police behavior but I hope I never lose sight of the fact that these men and women in blue are human and even the best of them can make a wrong choice in the split second they are given to make them. Occasionally one of those wrong choices has horrible, horrible consequences.
We still need to condemn those bad decisions, those bad actions, and hold people accountable but never lose sight of the fact that all lives matter, even the cops.
Charges are being filed against the six officers that were involved in taking Freddie Gray into custody and one of the officers is facing a second degree murder charge. I think that may be fitting however, I’m troubled by the speed at which the prosecution is moving.
The state’s attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn J. Mosby, filed the charges almost as soon as she received a medical examiner’s report that ruled Mr. Gray’s death a homicide, and a day after the police concluded their initial investigation and handed over their findings. Officials had cautioned that it could take considerable time for her office to complete its own investigation and decide whether to prosecute.
The timeline for this is a little more than two weeks. I can’t help but believe that there is a rush to put all this to bed regardless of the facts in the case. I don’t think there can be justice when the process moves this fast.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo was the white officer that placed the chokehold on Eric Garner that resulted in his death. Eric Garner was suspected of selling loose cigarettes near the entrance to the Staten Island ferry earlier this year. The coroner had ruled Mr. Garner’s death a homicide and was caused by the chokehold along with chest compression he received while struggling during attempts by the police to put handcuffs on him.
Today a grand jury refused to indict Officer Pantleo on any charges for Mr. Garner’s death. From looking at the video you can tell that Mr. Garner, while not aggressively fighting the police, he was resisting arrest. However, I’m not sure that Mr. Garner had done anything that he should have been arrested for in the first place so it’s very easy to see his frustration leading to the type of resistance he was exhibiting. While I wouldn’t call this murder I certainly could see a charge of negligent homicide or whatever equivalent charge would be appropriate in New York.
Why? He put him in a chokehold.
The case exposed apparent lapses in police tactics – chokeholds are banned by the Police Department’s own guidelines – and raised questions about the aggressive policing of minor offenses in a time of historically low crime. The officers involved, part of a plainclothes unit, suspected Mr. Garner of selling loose cigarettes on the street near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, a complaint among local business owners.
Yes, Mr. Garner was a large man and probably pretty powerful. But as the quote says, chokeholds are banned by the police department’s own guidelines. There was negligence, at least, involved in Mr. Garner’s death.