Three stupidest reactions to the death-by-chokehold whitewash

    In this July 23, 2014 file photo, Eric Garner's body lies in a casket during his funeral at Bethel Baptist Church in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Garner died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent chokehold. Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan announced Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, that an extra grand jury will be impaneled to hear evidence next month in the July 17 death of Garner. Donovan says his decision is based on his office's investigation and the medical examiner's ruling that the death was homicide. (AP Photo/New York Daily News, Julia Xanthos, Pool, File)

    In this July 23, 2014 file photo, Eric Garner's body lies in a casket during his funeral at Bethel Baptist Church in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Garner died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent chokehold. Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan announced Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, that an extra grand jury will be impaneled to hear evidence next month in the July 17 death of Garner. Donovan says his decision is based on his office's investigation and the medical examiner's ruling that the death was homicide. (AP Photo/New York Daily News, Julia Xanthos, Pool, File)

    So a white cop murders an unarmed black man (my take; the New York Medical Examiner ruled it a homicide), he does it by choking the guy to death (in a maneuver banned in New York since 1993) for the alleged infraction of selling loose cigarettes, the homicide is caught on video, the cop still gets off scot free…yet even this slam-dunk injustice has prompted some people to unleash their inner stupid.

    Eric Garner died because of the liberal nanny state. You may need to willfully lower your IQ in order to follow this train of thought. According to Rand Paul and various other ideologues, New York City and New York State have very high cigarette taxes; those taxes allegedly prompted Garner to sell untaxed loose cigarettes on the street in Staten Island; the cops swarmed Garner because of his suspected activities; therefore, Garner would be alive today if not for those punitive government taxes.

    Rand Paul (remember, this guy thinks he should be president), said last night that “there’s something bigger” than the circumstances surrounding Garner’s death. He said it’s “important to know that some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes, so they’ve driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive. Some politician also had to direct the police to say, ‘Hey, we want you arresting people for selling a loose cigarette’….I do blame the politicians, we’ve put our police in a difficult situation with bad laws.”

    He was echoed by conservative talk radio jockette Dana Loesch, who tweeted that Garner’s death was “the results of big government, NannyStateEnforcement.” She and others circulated a recent Washington Times article, which insisted that the high cigarette taxes were to blame for Garner’s death, because the government had empowered police “to employ violence in the name of tax collection.” (Actually, police have broad discretion on the street – like whether to employ deadly verboten violence against an unarmed man suspected of a minor infraction of the law.)

    But back to Rand Paul for a moment. Remember his outreach bid to minority voters? Talking to black audiences, trying to sell himself as a rare Republican in sync with their core concerns? Kiss those efforts goodbye.

    Eric Garner’s death was his own fault, because he was fat. Republican congressman Peter King said last night: “If he had not had asthma and a heart condition and was so obese, almost definitely he would not have died from this. The police had no reason to know he was in serious condition.”

    King, translated: If only Garner had given the cop a note from his doctor, the cop might not have applied the chokehold, and Garner would probably be alive today.

    King, having accessed his inner stupid, seemed to be implying that choking Garner for the alleged crime of selling loose cigarettes would’ve been perfectly fine if only the guy had been svelter and healthier.  But the city cop manual unequivocally states: “Members of the New York City Police Department will NOT use chokeholds. A chokehold shall include, but is not limited to, any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.”

    Despite King’s best efforts to blame the victim, the cop manual provides him no wiggle room.

    The people protesting the grand jury decision might ruin the holiday spirit. On Fox News late yesterday afernoon, one of the blondes said she was alarmed about the grand jury’s failure to indict – but not for the reason you might rationally expect. Tell us, troubled host:

    “I just want to point out that there have been these protests in Time Square – right outside of our building here – for the last week or so, since the non-indictment came down in the Ferguson situation. So, I certainy hope nothing’s going to happen in New York City today – and we’ve got the tree-lighting ceremony!”

    Fox blonde, translated: Oh the nerve of those angry people, daring to complain about the criminal justice system, to the point of spoiling the lighting of some tree. Is there no end to this war on Christmas?

    Let’s trump these articulations of stupidity by giving Eric Garner the last word:

    “I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. Please please, don’t touch me. Do not touch me. (garbled) I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”

     

     

    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1, and on Facebook.

     

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