VIDEO: “I Can’t Breath”: Eric Garner’s Death by Obesity, Morbidity, and Poor Judgment

Five years ago, on this exact date, Eric Garner died while violently resisting lawful arrest for a petty crime. Yesterday the Department of Justice announced that there would be no civil rights charges against the police officer most associated with that arrest (although numerous officers were involved).

This perfectly reasonable decision by the DOJ—consistent with similar conclusions drawn by every other official review of this case, including that of a grand jury—has predictably led to confusion and outrage among the ill-informed, so it seems worth taking a moment to recollect the facts and law that apply to the Garner case.

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was observed by New York police officers to be engaged in the petty crime of selling “loosies,” individual cigarettes drawn from a pack that normally holds twenty.

New York City makes selling “loosies” a crime for a variety of reasons, primarily because it undercuts the city’s ability to collect taxes on sales of full packs of cigarettes, which bear a state tax stamp, and also because it competes with the lawful sale of cigarettes by local merchants, who are generally the people to call police on sellers of “loosies.”

Reasonable people can disagree as to whether this should be an offense subject to arrest, but that’s a decision for politicians and their constituents, not for individual police officers tasked with enforcing the laws passed by those politicians.

Garner’s conduct in violating this particular law had been particularly egregious—he’d previously been arrested 31 times, mostly for this particular offense, and his arrest took place directly in front of a store attempting to lawfully engage in the business of selling cigarettes—that it was no surprise that an NYPD task force in the neighborhood established specifically to arrest those engaged in this unlawful conduct observed Garner selling” loosies” yet again. Several police officers moved in to make a lawful arrest, including Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

Instead of the complying with the lawful arrest, the approximately 400-pound Eric Garner—massing far more than any of the individual officers seeking to arrest him—instead chose to violently resist lawful arrest.

It should go without saying that if suspects can avoid lawful arrest simply by deciding that they don’t want to be arrested that day, law enforcement would be a pointless exercise. Accordingly, the police making the arrest increased their use of force in order to accomplish their lawful goal. As is common today, and was already in 2014, video of the arrest was taken and widely distributed afterward.

We’re all aware that Eric Garner would end up dead following his decision to violently resist lawful arrest, and that’s certainly an unfortunate outcome given the stakes of a minor criminal offense.

What made Garner’s death major news, however, was the widespread claim that he was actually intentionally or negligently killed by the New York Police Department in general, and by Officer Pantaleo in particular.

The claimed method Officer Pantaleo used to kill Garner? A so-called “chokehold.”

An informed view of the actual facts and law that apply to this case, however, readily shows that the purported “chokehold killing of Eric Garner” is just as much a lie as that of Michael Brown being shot dead by police as he surrendered “hands up, don’t shoot” and that George Zimmerman got out of his vehicle to confront Trayvon Martin after being ordered not to do so by the police dispatcher.

All of these are lies of the most contemptible sort, not just for being lies but for being lies intended to falsely foster racial hatred and division within American society. (And it’s always worth asking in such cases that are built on outright lies, cui bono?)

It’s also worth noting that this case has been subject to numerous official reviews, including by a grand jury, as well as by Attorney General Loretta Lynch under the Obama administration, over a five year period, and none of them—zero, zilch, nada—have found cause for either criminal or civil rights charges.

Indeed, the real indictment of this entire process has been the five years wasted on it, during which Officer Pantaleo has been held in professional limbo. After all, it’s not as if any new evidence emerged in the last five years, yet it took until July 2019 for the Department of Justice to announce they’d not be charging Officer Pantaleo for non-existent civil rights violations.

Everything we know now that led to this perfectly appropriate decision by the DOJ has been known for years, so why the delay? Contemptible.

The general propaganda-induced claim of misconduct by Officer Pantaleo is that he killed Eric Garner by the application of an unlawful “chokehold” while making the arrest.

Given how often this claim has been uncritically echoed by the #fakenews media, the general public may be shocked to learn that no such “chokehold” ever occurred, or if it did occur transiently and incidentally did not induce the harm that would have been necessary to be the cause of Garner’s death.

This is not opinion, but demonstrable fact based on all the available evidence.

There are two forms of “chokehold” relevant to this case: a carotid chokehold and a respiratory chokehold. Either can cause death, and both are largely restricted or outright prohibited for use by police as non-deadly force in making an arrest.

Both are also very specific techniques with very specific physiological consequences. Merely throwing one’s arm around a suspect’s neck does not constitute any kind of chokehold, absent the required technique and absent the physiological consequence.

Let’s Go to the Video Tape

I’ve included in this post some screen captures from the most commonly viewed video of the Garner arrest, along with referenced time-stamps from that video which I’ve embedded here. (Note that throughout the video Officer Pantaleo can be identified as wearing the green T-shirt with “99” printed across the back.) The full-length video is included at the end of the video version of this post.

Garner was Not Killed by a Carotid Chokehold

A carotid chokehold involves the constriction of the carotid arteries of the neck in order to limit blood flow to the brain and induce unconsciousness. To accomplish this physiological effect the arm is placed around the neck such that the forearm is on one side of the neck and the bicep on the other. Typically then the free arm is used to apply pressure to the applicant’s hand or wrist so as to squeeze together the forearm and bicep, and apply pressure to the sides of the suspect’s neck.

It is notable that the inside of the applicant’s elbow is positioned over the suspect’s larynx, and that no pressure is applied to the suspect’s respiratory passage—this is what distinguishes the carotid chokehold from the respiratory chokehold.

The physiological consequence of the carotid chokehold is the rapid loss of consciousness by the suspect, typically within a few seconds. If pressure is released promptly, the suspect typically regains consciousness almost immediately. If the hold is maintained well past the loss of consciousness it is possible that the brain could be denied blood flow long enough to induce death, but this would require the continuous application of the carotid chokehold.

None of this—neither the required technique of the carotid chokehold nor the physiological outcome of death while the chokehold is being applied—is in evidence in the case of Eric Garner.

The video of the arrest does not show Officer Pantaleo applying a carotid chokehold, as the technique is properly understood and described above. In addition, Garner clearly does not suffer death while he was being engaged by Officer Pantaleo—Garner’s death occurred only later, and thus could not have been proximately caused by a carotid chokehold applied by Officer Pantaleo.

Even if one chose to believe, contrary to evidence, that Pantaleo applied a carotid chokehold to Garner, note that in the embedded video of Garner’s arrest, Pantaleo has affirmatively released Garner’s neck no later than 00:50 seconds into the video.

By that 00:50 second point Pantaleo has both palms holding Garner’s head to the sidewalk, and is no longer applying any “chokehold” of any sort to Garner.

Yet at this point Garner is conscious and resisting arrest.

Clearly, then, no carotid chokehold applied by Pantaleo, even had there been one, could have been the cause of Garner’s death. Garner was still alive after Pantaleo was no longer applying pressure of any sort to Garner’s neck.

Garner was Not Killed by a Respiratory Chokehold

But what about a respiratory chokehold? Did the application of a respiratory chokehold by Officer Pantaleo kill Eric Garner?

A respiratory chokehold is distinct from a carotid chokehold in that its effect is intended to target the respiratory, rather than the circulatory system.

The technique involves placing the forearm across the front of the throat, typically the area of the larynx, as opposed to the carotid chokehold which places the inside of the elbow over that same area. Thus the respiratory chokehold applies direct pressure to the respiratory system, whereas the carotid chokehold does not.

The physiological consequence of the respiratory chokehold is that the victim cannot—you guessed it—respire. That is, they cannot breathe. Naturally, if breath is denied for a long enough period of time, the suspect may die as a result.

The respiratory chokehold is commonly banned as a police use-of-force technique for two reasons. First, it is an ineffective means of inducing rapid compliance by a suspect—breath can be denied for as much as several minutes before a suspect loses consciousness. In contrast, the carotid chokehold has its affect within seconds. Second, it is remarkably easy to inadvertently cause permanent, life-ending trauma using the respiratory chokehold by crushing the larynx.

We know for a certainty, however, that Officer Pantaleo was not actually applying a respiratory chokehold to Eric Garner, or alternatively that even if such a chokehold was being inadvertently and transiently applied—or for that matter being intentionally applied—it was not inducing the harmful physiological effect of constricting respiration and thus could not have caused Garner’s death.

How do we know this? Because throughout Pantaleo’s application of force to Garner, while Garner was on the ground and being wrestled with by several officers attempting to lawfully arrest the non-compliant Garner, Garner was repeatedly heard stating “I can’t breathe.”

First of all, speaking requires breathing. It is simply not possible to speak unless one is able to pass air over one’s vocal cords. The fact that Garner was able to enunciated the statement “I can’t breathe” and to do so repeatedly is proof positive that he was, in fact, breathing.

Second of all, even if the statement “I can’t breathe” was instead meant to communicate that Garner was having difficulty breathing, rather than completely unable to breathe, there are obvious reasons why he might be having such difficulty in breathing that do not require a respiratory chokehold by Pantaleo.

Notably, the fact that the morbidly obese Garner, who knew he already suffered from asthma and cardiac disease, had compelled the police to put him on the ground, where he continued to resist arrest to the point that multiple officers were seeking to subdue him. That, however, is on Garner.

Further, even Garner himself is never heard to say that his difficulty in breathing was due to pressure on his neck—the phrase “You’re choking me” is never said by Garner.

Even if one chose to believe, contrary to evidence, that Pantaleo applied a respiratory chokehold to Garner, note that in the embedded video of Garner’s arrest, Pantaleo has affirmatively released Garner’s neck no later than 00:50 seconds into the video.

After the point at which Pantaleo is no longer applying pressure of any sort to Garner’s neck, Garner repeats the statement, “I can’t breathe” at least nine times. Clearly, he’s breathing.

By that 00:50 seconds point Pantaleo has both palms holding Garner’s neck to the sidewalk, and is no longer applying any “chokehold” to Garner.

Yet at this point Garner is still breathing and speaking: the “I can’t breathe” speech already discussed.

Clearly, then, there was no respiratory chokehold with life-ending physiological effect applied by Pantaleo to Garner, and thus no respiratory chokehold applied by Pantaleo could have been the cause of Garner’s death.

So What Was Pantaleo’s Arm Doing?

The question may naturally arise that if Pantaleo was not subjecting Garner to either a carotid or a respiratory chokehold, what was he doing with his arm around Garner’s neck?

The answer is that Pantaleo was attempting to employ a non-deadly force take-down method known as the “seatbelt” technique, a perfectly lawful non-deadly force technique on which he was trained while attending the NYPD police academy.

The seatbelt technique involves placing an arm around the suspect’s shoulder and diagonally across the suspect’s chest, much like a seatbelt would be positioned, and then using one’s weight to bring the suspect to the ground.

The seatbelt technique is a commonly approved takedown technique for use by police in dealing with non-compliant suspects and was an approved technique by the NYPD at the time of Garner’s arrest. Properly applied, the seatbelt technique has essentially zero risk of causing a suspect serious injury or death, and thus is properly understood as a non-deadly force technique.

The video shows Pantaleo’s application of this seatbelt technique was imperfect, at best, but any technique is going to be less than “academy perfect” when applied to a real violently non-compliant suspect in the real world than when applied in a sterile training environment. That’s on the violently non-compliant suspect, not on the officer seeking to make a lawful arrest using approved techniques.

In any case, we know that even this imperfectly applied seatbelt technique caused neither constricted blood flow nor respiration in the case of Garner, for the reasons already discussed in detail above, and thus could not have been the proximate cause of Garner’s death.

Death by Obesity, Morbidity, and Poor Judgment

The reason that Officer Pantaleo has never been criminally charged and why even the Obama Department of Justice declined to bring civil rights charges against him, despite the #fakenews media repeatedly and falsely claiming that Pantaleo had killed Garner unlawfully with a chokehold, is because criminal or civil rights charges would have required such claims to be made in the adversarial setting of a courtroom, where emotion and propaganda would be contested with actual facts and evidence, and where the chokehold false narrative would have met a swift and embarrassing end.

So if Eric Garner was not killed by chokehold, what did cause his death?

In short, Garner’s death was almost certainly caused by his own gross obesity—again, he weighed as much as 400 pounds—his own morbidity—he suffered from both pre-existing respiratory and cardiac disease—and his own poor judgment—deciding to violently resist, rather than comply with, a lawful arrest being made by multiple New York Police Department officers.

That doesn’t make Garner’s death anything but the tragedy it genuinely is.

It does, however, make Garner’s death the responsibility of Garner, and not of Officer Pantaleo or anyone else.

Cui Bono?

In closing, if you’re wondering why large groups of people, including the #fakenews media, continue to falsely portray the death of Eric Garner as if he were the victim of an unlawful killing by the police, I again recommend that you ask again, cui bono?

Who benefits?

Finally, as always, remember:

You have a gun so you’re hard to kill.

Know the law so you’re hard to convict.

— Andrew

Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC
Law of Self Defense CONSULT Program

You can find almost daily self-defense law content by Attorney Branca, freely available, at his blog: lawofselfdefense.com.

26 thoughts on “VIDEO: “I Can’t Breath”: Eric Garner’s Death by Obesity, Morbidity, and Poor Judgment”

  1. Agree with you on the resisting, cardiac, & obesity, but that officer’s forearm isn’t positioned quite right for carotid restraint, albeit not quite an full airway block. It is close to a block and maybe was partially doing so. Carotid restraint not evident because Garner stayed conscious. The officer seemed to be partly restricting everything but mostly the airway via that forearm. Outrageous slop or maliciousness. He knew/should have known how to do a carotid restraint but didn’t. I do and did one. Sure is different from what the cop did, whatever it was. LAPD did tons until PR ban. Sad. Good thing if not abused, overused. Arguable as a “You should rethink your behavior” device. Maybe like EST/ECT. Maybe.
    From Day One it seemed in the Garner case, and still does, that there’s one cop who should not be one. But yes, asthma, obesity, & cardiac were cause of death–lucky for the officer.
    My guess is: Dismissed or resigns.
    Question: Would a civil trial find as contributing factor that forearm use and air restriction, however much it was used? (G could talk but not breathe enough; and of course his protests were muchly ignored; still, a hurry-up event.) I don’t recall if EMTs got involved, ER visit, etc. Perhaps cops had “had it” with this big mass of chronic contempt of cop, and did less than a perfect response.

    1. I call BULLSHIT. Were you there? Did you do the investigation? Have you ever tried to arrest some asshole that desided they aren’t going to jail today? This is unfortunately what fighting with the Police will sometimes get you when you resist arrest for a crime you choose to commit and have already been arrested for multiple times. 31 arrests for the same offence, WTF. The Cops were trying to do the job they get paid for. Bottom line, Garner is dead because he made bad decisions most of the time. That does have a way of biting you on your ass eventually.

  2. Garner could in fact breathe if he was able to say over and over ” I can’t breathe “. This is a great example of don’t fight with the Police when they are arresting you for a crime you are willfully committing. Would all of this outrage be if he was a white man? Nope. That don’t fit the narrative. The hold didn’t kill him, his 400lbs and poor choices killed him. In 33 years of lawenforcement I never arrested ANYBODY THAT WASN’T COMMITTING A CRIME OR SERVING AN IN FORCE ARREST WARRANT ISSUED BY A JUDGE. I’ve used both a catroid restraint and choked out more than one asshole that desided he/she wasn’t going to jail tonight. It never did any physical harm because I applied them correctly. It was that or shoot them because baton strikes didn’t work. If I tell you your under arrest your going to jail, that is that. Your going on your saddle or across it, that’s up to you. Cops don’t get paid to ignore criminal violations especially when specificity ordered to crack down on any specific criminal activity or lose fights with assholes. It’s unfortunate that this man is dead, he got that way because he felt he was above the law not because he was Black. Reality check, Lawenforcement officers seriously injure and kill more White offenders each year than Black ooffenders. That doesn’t fit the narrative either. If the Officer in question was Black what would have been the issue? Slavery and Jim Crow are history, get over it. You get the treatment you get because of the way you behave. I got stopped once by a Black State Trooper. He was very professional and polite just as I always was. He didn’t drag me out of my car and beat me or shoot me. Why not? Because I didn’t give him any reason too. Get the message? Is any of that getting through to you? If anyone feels that they were misstated by a Cop, make a written complaint. If it’s not bullshit or just because your Black it will be investigated. I know how that is. I’ve gotten my ass chewed more than once as a result of them. 98% of lawenforcement officers in America today are comptant and professional people trying to do one hardest jobs in America. Police Officers come from the same society they protect and serve. No of us are perfect. The 3% that are bad apples are what sell newspaper and social media hype are what the Lamestreem media live for. You want to call me racist for calling it as I see it, go ahead. That doesn’t change reality. Try dropping the attitude and take the chip off your shoulder, How about we try that for awhile????

  3. Was the delay a deliberate attempt to punish by abuse of process or merely an attempt to push the matter off so as to reduce the likely outrage that might result?

    The world may never know.

    But eventually police are going have to understand that the policy markers see them as to put it mildly ,expendable.

    What they do at that point will be interesting to watch..

    1. You got that part Wright. More than on Cop has sacrificed on the aulter of political correctness and racial foolishness.Furgerson MO is a great example. I was forced to but a Black Female offender down 2 weeks after the Rodney King riots. I figured I was F##ked. Didn’t actually happen because she shot on officer in the face with a .22 caliber pistol and was trying to shoot me. Didn’t fit the narrative so not only did we both survive the event, we got to keep our jobs

  4. I can’t believe it’s been five years, but even early on, it was pretty evident that the police didn’t murder Eric Garner, as horrible as the death was.

    Just as others (usually of the libertarian persuasion) pointed out at the time this originally made national news, while the officers may have been justified in arresting Garner, enforcement of the law eventually killed him. No matter how benign you think a law will be, there will *always* be someone who disagrees with it to the point of disobeying it, and resisting it — and sometimes resistance gets you killed. Thus, you should *never* pass a law that you aren’t willing to kill for to enforce it.

    Granted, it’s up to the citizens of New York to decide if selling “loosies” is something so severe that we should be willing to kill people over it (I, for one, don’t think that we should — and even more, I even think it’s a grievous violation of property rights to forbid the sale of individual cigarettes), but sadly, I doubt that this death has led to the removal of banning of selling “loosies”, despite the outrage this death generated. And this, in turn, is likely because the outrage was generated for the wrong reasons: people blaming racism, when the real problem was this stupid law.

    1. I call BULLSHIT… If you think any law is unjust or unconstitutional then go ahead and break it, peacefully submit to arrest when the Police show up to enforce it. You’ll have your day in court and you can tell it to the Judge. Then you can get a group of your like minded fellow citizens to organize a PEACEFUL protest and social media campaign and put pressure on your city and state Governments to repeal what ever laws you don’t like. That’s how the American system works, and when it’s used the way it’s supposed to be nobody gets hurt or dead. If you don’t like the laws and statutes you city and state makes show up on election day and vote the people out of office that make them. Am I the only one that graduated high school that passed civics? Garner is dead because he chose to break the law that he’d been busted for 31 times. His 400 lbs and bad choices are what killed him not the Cops that were doing the job they get paid to do. We don’t get to pick the laws we think are wright or wrong. Every city has laws like the one he was braking. He obviously knew that and he’d been busted for it before. He made a real bad choice to resist with violence arrest, he lost his life as a result. If the Cops wanted to execute him They simply would have found a reason to shoot him. The reality of that incednt is he could breath because he could talk. The idea of that technique is to create the fear that you can’t breathe so that you will submit to arrest. The Police had to use as many officers as available to attempt to effect the arrest that he chose to resist. We don’t get paid to lose fights with assholes. This 400lbs idiot should have known better. He wasn’t some farm hand just off the bus. It’s easy and fits the narrative to blame the Police doing the job they were hired to do when things go sideways. It’s unfortunate that the man lost his life, but he’d still be alive today if he hadn’t chose to do what he did… Sorry but that’s on him not the Cops. Just like Rodney King he could have just submitted to the arrest first off or at any time submitted to arrest. When he’d Finley had enough he was taken into custody and taken to the hospital. I wasn’t working that night but I heard all about it The next day.
      Same with this idiot. He could at anytime given up.
      Reality sucks when it doesn’t fit the narrative don’t it.

      1. It’s not bullcrap. The fact is, a law was passed, and someone didn’t follow it, and is now dead because of it.

        Whether a given law is just or not is debatable. What is CLEAR is that passing a law means there’s a non-zero chance that people will die for breaking it.

        Does someone think spitting on a sidewalk should be a crime? Perhaps it should be — after all, it makes the sidewalk filthy, and it increases the risk of spread of disease. Should we be willing to kill a defiant punk who is resisting arrest because he spat on the sidewalk, and tore up the ticket in anger? Perhaps the answer is very well “yes” — but too often, we pass laws like this thinking about the cleanliness of the sidewalk, never asking ourselves about the people who who might die because of our desire for a clean city.

        The reality is that any law sufficiently important to enforce is going to have *some* death toll. Reality sucks. It’s a reality that we should *all* be aware of when we pass a law.

        1. You are completely missing the point. The Government is composed of people elected by the people. Laws are passed to protect society in as much as possible from people and hazardous situations that destroy or jeopardize the good order and health of society. The laws are enforced by Police Officers. Those that chose to break these laws assume the jeopardy of arrest and penalty those actions bring. Violations and misdemeanor offenses although trivial to you are codified laws. There is no built in intent to cause great harm or death in the enforcement of these or any other laws in America. The level of force used to effect any lawful arrest of any person breaking these laws is up to them. Once told you are under arrest you have no lawful wright to resist arrest. If you choose to do so the Officer(s) will use the level of force nessisaery to take you into custody. That is up to you. We don’t get to pick and choose what laws we agree and don’t agree with. If you think a law you just broke is petty and unjust that’s your opinion. Peacefully submit to arrest and have your day in court. You can tell it to the Judge. There were a combination of physical reasons why Garner lost his life. The most obvious one is because he was an idiot. He made bad choices all of his life, this last on cost him his life.He knew what he was doing was illegal because he’d been arrested 31 times before for breaking it. He made the choice to resist arrest with violence. Again a bad choice. I don’t know about you but it wouldn’t take me 31 times to figure that out. If he or you think your above the law your wrong. If he was selling what you sell outside of your store you’d be the first one to call a Cop to stop him from costing YOU money. Pull your head out of your ass and think about what society would be without laws and people to enforce them. Am I the only one that didn’t sleep through Civics in high school? Better yet go for some ride a longs with your Police Department and find out what your talking about before you say it. Your one of these people I met many times that think they know more about my job and how to do it than I ever will.

          1. No, I am *not* missing the point. My point is this: when you enforce the law, there will *always* be idiots who resist arrest, and when idiots resist arrest, there will *always* be idiots who die from it.

            As I recall correctly, Garner was arrested 31 times, but he was never charged. If this law is so important, why was he never punished for it? Some have gone so far as to claim that the police used arrests to harass him, and Garner reached a breaking point where he was fed up enough that he decided to be an idiot. Perhaps that was so, but then, perhaps the DA just wasn’t doing his job (or the DA decided that it wasn’t worth prosecuting someone selling “loosies” when more important crimes needed to be addressed).

            Either way, I have personally said NOTHING about police work in this case, other than observing that I can see nothing wrong with what the police did. My ONLY complaint about this incident is “if you don’t want people to be killed for selling loosies, then maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t have a law against it, and if I had my druthers, I’d have never passed that law in the first place.” Apparently, though, most people who are upset with Garner’s death are upset because the police “killed” him (which they did nothing of the sort), and not because there was this stupid law that the police were enforcing.

            TL;DR version: If you don’t want idiots to die, don’t pass stupid laws. If you pass stupid laws, idiots are going to die when you enforce them. Don’t blame the police for that, though: if you’re in favor of that law, then you have to accept that idiots are eventually going to die because of the existence of that law.

  5. None of us are perfect. We do the job we’re hired to do with the tools and rules we have. Unfortunately sometime a suspect or Policemen loses their life as a result. Unfortunately that’s life in the real world. One thing I noticed in my 33 years as a Cop is nobody really gets all indignant and pissed off when the Cop gets injured or killed. Doesn’t fit the narrative. Tell you what, how about some of you self appointed experts go on a few ride a longs and really find out what it’s like on the streets, then you’ll know what your talking about.

  6. Sorry, but I had to put 4 idiots down in my 33 years in the job. Their choice, my life or theirs. It’s just that simple. I didn’t strap on my gun belt at the start of shift planning on shooting anybody. I did plan on taking it off ALIVE and with no more holes in me then when I started at the end of shift.

    1. James A Harwood

      Max Mason, thanks for the service you gave to your part of our country in working as an LEO. So thankful that you are the one who went home safely when you had to shoot the 4 from time to time. Respectfully,

    2. MaxMason, I can’t imagine what you’ve had to deal with in your career. I’m sorry you were forced to make those hard decisions & have to live with them. Even justified, I always hear it’s always with you. Thank you for your service & hopefully your retired or retiring soon.
      The common line you hear is that most officers never have to pull their weapon for ‘X’ years. I don’t believe it, especially these days. Cops have to do a hard ass job, deal with the worst of society, have people routinely pissed off with attitudes towards them, name calling, not paid nearly enough, assumed guilty and or racist, etc.. The list goes on & on.
      I’m not in law enforcement or my immediate family. You can just see it being around enough. Now one is ever happy getting pulled over, a ticket, & of course taken to jail. People always forget their doing a job that’s required for any society to function with order.
      When I’ve been pulled over, I get naturally nervous (not a lot, but heartbeat picks up). Turn off my car, windows down, dome light on (if at night), put on hazards, no phone or stereo, hands on the steering wheel, greet & be friendly with the officer, answer all questions, obey commands, don’t talk back, and and always, “Yes sir/mam, No sir/mam”. I’ve found over 50% of the time, I get a warning or a lower violation. Cops will respect you, if you respect them, especially since their not used to it.
      I’ve done a ride along in a big county around DC & it was eye opening. We got in a high speed chase (the officers first being the lead), a DOA call, a woman shat herself in the back of our car, & more in just one night! Not the average I was told in such a safe county. Cops are just like everyone else, except their job exposes them to the worst in people.
      Of course every big department will have bad apples, that may be racist, trying to prove something, etc. Normally weeded out, but unfortunately for the 97% of good cops just doing their job to protect & serve are grouped together & somehow portrayed by those bad 2-3% or the grievances. Imagine just a day, week, month with no cops. Complete chaos!
      Sorry for a tad off topic. I’m not ass kissing, as what’s the point. Just being honest & wish more of the public felt & treated officers the way I do. It’s a win, win. So to all the officers on here current or retired. Thank you! Jay

  7. James A Harwood

    Seems like the more ignorant, can I say STUPID without getting into trouble with somebody watching here, they are, the more likely they are to either run from the LEOs, fight the LEOs, or both. I’ve heard another atty;. say “don’t attempt to have your trial at the scene. ” There is no court, judge, jury, or your lawyer there to say the proceedings are according to the law. All these characters have to do is peacefully submit to arrest, but NOOOOOOOOOOO. They have to be stupid, die in the process, and then a bunch of equally stupid cause a lot more trouble. Thankful this officer is, so far anyway, staying on his job. Well, on and on I could go.

    Thanks again, Mr. Branca, for bringing us these items from day to day. I’ve learned so much from you and hope to continue. Because of your You Tube video on the topic, I now have CCW SAFE coverage. All best to you and yours.

  8. One thing that should stand out from the guy that posted this is his lack of command of the English language spoken in America. He begins every sentence with the word ” Nigga”. He’s dissrespting himself and every Black American. As a white Cop in a Black area I managed to get along with the Black people that I served very well. I didn’t bully or disrespect them. The street people I dealt with nightly know I gave them a fair and square deal so we got in mostly ok. An asshole is an asshole regardless of color. I did manage to learn conversational Hibonics and Spanish in my time there. One thing I noticed is Hibonics is like Chinese, there are so many different dialects it’s hard to pick them all up. I once as a tourist in NYC watched a simmiler arrest by NYPD officers out of professional curiosity. The subject be arrested happened to be a white male attempting to soloist a female under cover officer for sex. A misdemeanor in LA and NY. He chose to resist arrest and got what he got. He looked like a brused turd when he finally gave up but not seriously injured. A mixed crowd gathered. Unlike in Garners arrest nobody got close to it in anyway interfered. Several people recorded it on cell phones and it showed up on YouTube the same day. The morale of the story is lose the attitude, drop the chip on your shoulder an act like the Black Marines and Police Officers I served with and are still life long friends. My ansesters were Irish, German and Native American. They didn’t refer to themselves as Mick, Hinie or Blanket Ass. History shows they all got the ass end of the stick too, and to some point still do. Where’s the outrage there?I grew up to respect my heritage and take pride in being an American not a whatever/ American. There’s no such thing. You can only swear alliance to one flag at a time. Be grateful you live in a country that will put up with your BULLSHIT to start with. I’ve worked as a PMC In order countries that don’t have the laws and wrights we enjoy here and I’m here to tell all of you that if you think American Cops are bad. Try that in some of these countries and you’ll only do it once. You’ll get a bullet or a real beating then and there that will make that incednt look like a little girl slap fight. The Cops involved weren’t trying to kill this idiot.How about you people pull head out of ass and try acting like Americans and stop dissrespting and killing each other and society. How about we try that for awhile.

    1. I had a sigh of relief when you said the second sentence — I was afraid for a moment that you were going to accuse the cops of racism. I’m sick and tired of incidents like this being blamed on race, when there were so many other factors involved as well.

      It’s also really sad when a case of police brutality (actual or even just borderline) comes up, and no one cares because the person is white.

      And while I disagree with MA XMASON14 on some things, one thing definitely resonates: too many times people don’t care when a police officer gets injured (although, having said that, I’ve seen a lot of respect for injured police officers, but then, I’m in Utah, not in California, and particularly not in LA….).

      1. You have an excellent point. My experience with both of these holds is that they work when applied properly when used as we’re trained to use them. We didn’t have Pepper Spray or Tasers back in my day. We had our bare hands, baton, piece. You had to go hands on with a suspect that resisted arrest. If a Cop got injured or killed that’s how it was. I’ve even had more than one Judge tell me that’s part of your job that’s what you get paid for. That’s how people treat the LAPD. and a lot of Cops. Your just a Cop, your expendable.Yes it does go with the job in lawenforcement all over, but for Judges to dismiss assaults on Offices out of hand because they didn’t like Cops to start with, were one of the contributing factors that created the somewhat heavy hand the LAPD had back in the day. Back about half way through my probation I cought one of old hands choking out a (white kid) because it was a hot night and we had to chase him down on foot. The kid hit his head on the side walk when he let go when I called him on it, got a few stitches out of it, could have been much worse. This old hand was a great Cop, but real badge heavy as we used to say. I wrote it up as I saw it. My shift Sargent tore the report up and reminded me that a “boot doesn’t have an opinion” he keeps his eyes and ears open and mouth shut. He told me that if that report got to the Watch Commander I would be the one in a world of shit with all of the other Cops on the P.M. watch not him. I’d have to be transferred out or failed on probation and probably fired. That’s the way it was back in the day. I doubt much has changed. Due to the number of injuries caused by improper use of these techniques eventually they were taken away from us. Not the fault of the Cops using them mostly, just the nature of the beast. I didn’t see a issues with it in this example. What I did see is a very large suspect resting arrest with violence. Some people on this forum are saying that no city ordnance is worth someone losing their life over. The enforcement of any city ordnance is what Cops get paid for and are ordered to enforce. It’s not up to us to deside if we agree with and pick and choose what laws to enforce especially when specificity ordered to pay particular attention to a targeted ordnance. No city ordnance or law has a injury or death component built into or intended in it when enforced. If you think the ordinance is petty or violates you Constitutional Rights, submit to the arrest or appeal the fine. You’ll have your day in court. If you are stupid enough to hold court on the side walk this is an example of what the results can be. Garners 400+ pounds are what killed him not the ordinance not the Police. He made a series of bad choices over a period of time, that’s how he lost his life. The Founders crafted into our Constitution a very simple way to pass, amend, and repeal laws we the people feel are unjust.IT’S worked pretty well so far for the past 200+ years. That’s not how it’s done. If anyone doesn’t agree with a city ordnance or law and could ignore or violate it merely because they can articulate why they don’t have to obay, there would be no enforcement and no reason to have them with predictable results. The city officials pass them based on the wants and needs of the residents and obvious need to mitigate a reoccurring problem or dangerous issue. If enough of the citizens don’t agree then get it changed the right way, not that way. I didn’t know Garner, I wasn’t there. I’ve dealt with a thousand just like him in my 33 years on the job. My personal attitude is if I tell your under arrest that’s the way it is. Your going to jail, in your saddle or across it, Your choice. Cops don’t get paid to lose fights with assholes. Some people on this forum based on the things thay posted obviously failed High School Civics. They also never learned the difference between the way it ought to be and the way it is. If you actually think the Cops handled the situation wrong become a Cop and role around on the side walk a few times with a shit bird like Garner and then let’s see if you sing the same tune. Go on a ride along sometime. You definitely get an education.

  9. This is my first time to comment. I would like to start by saying thanks to attorney Branca for providing accurate and beneficial information on a topic that is widely misunderstood. I was a city police officer for 25 years. Add to that 20 additional years as a UOF instructor, teaching LEOs and other first-responders as well as providing expert witness testimony. So I am not new to this arena, but always open to learn more. What is rarely discussed in these controversial arrest related deaths is the difference between the mechanism for death as opposed to the “cause”. In this case as with so many similar ARDs, we know at some point during or shortly after the confrontation Garner’s heart stopped. So cause of death was heart failure. But what made the heart stop? Most likely a combination of issues contributed to his demise as attorney Branca pointed out. Was there one condition that contributed more than the others? Added to the mix was the struggle (brought on by his resistance) which put additional strain on an already damaged heart. Of course the exact mechanism in these controversial deaths is often never identified. Choke hold deaths, much like the widely misunderstood “hogtie deaths” or “positional asphyxia deaths” (more recently labeled “restraint asphyxia deaths”), have a legal precedent. The scientific community has completely discounted the validity of such rulings in the asphyxia deaths but in the legal community is slow to accept those findings. Hopefully, with continued research the issue of choke hold deaths will be better understood. As pointed out by others on this site, when done properly neck restraints do not kill people.

    1. Emotionally, I want to ask “Why didn’t they get the help Garner needed?” but then cold logic sets in: too many times, someone being arrested fakes a medical condition, and then attempts to harm others once the police try to treat that condition. The sad reality is that it’s often dangerous to treat people just arrested (or even just shot) — and it’s a danger that both police and civilians need to keep in mind when they have to shoot someone in self defense — thus people who have genuine health problems are more likely to die when they are in situations like this.

      While I consider the law being enforced to be unjust, I cannot fault the police officers enforcing it — they didn’t do anything particularly egregious in their enforcement.

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