Nothing But a Northern Lynching: How the Murder of Eric Garner is Being Explained Away

“We believe Mr. Garner made a choice that day to resist arrest.”

“You cannot go out and break the law. What we did not hear is that you cannot resist arrest. That’s a crime.”

“Officer Pantaleo did not use a chokehold, he used a headlock which is an acceptable take-down maneuver.”

                –Patrick Lynch

These are the words of Patrick Lynch in support of the decision of a grand jury to decline to press charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the man who choked 42 year old father of six Eric Garner to death. Mr.  Lynch is the current president of the New York City’s Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which is the police union for the city of New York. These statements along with others made by Lynch placed the blame on one person in the incident on July 17th that took Eric Garners life: Eric Garner himself. During a press conference Lynch also said that Garner was complicit in his own death citing health issues and his decision to resist arrest. Not only are these statements completely egregious and erroneous, but also extremely idiotic.

According to the NYPD police were dispatched out to the Staten Island area to investigate Eric Garner, who was under suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes.  Mr. Garner repeatedly reiterated to the several officers who were on the scene that he was not committing any criminal act or offense of any kind. He was then attacked and placed in chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo and taken to the ground by fellow officers. Mr. Garner shouted nearly a dozen times that he could not breathe. These officers ignored him and he died on the street.  To make it worse as many of you have seen, this incident was captured on video.  The video evidence does not support any statement Mr. Lynch made whatsoever.

The notion that Eric Garner is complicit in his own death is despicable. Lynch said Mr. Garner was breaking the law and resisting arrest.   The witnesses at the scene and the video evidence provide an alternate narrative that does not support Mr. Lynch’s assertions whatsoever. According to witnesses, Mr. Garner was breaking up a physical altercation and not engaging in wrongdoing of any kind when he was approached by officers. But to play devil’s advocate, if he was resisting arrest, the officers could have used other mechanisms to subdue Mr. Garner such has pepper spray, or a Taser. The fact that they immediately resorted to deadly force is wrong. Not to mention the fact that Mr. Garner was not a murder suspect, rapist, or drug trafficker. He did not deserve to die due to suspicion he was selling untaxed cigarettes.

That brings me to my next point. Mr. Lynch said that Officer Pantaleo did not use a chokehold, but rather a headlock, which is a legal maneuver to subdue Eric Garner. I must ask Patrick Lynch. What video of the incident were you watching? He asserted Officer Pantaleo used a headlock. Well, that so-called “headlock” restricted Eric Garner’s airways to the point where he was asphyxiated and died on the street. Not to mention the fact that the autopsy showed that Garner died as a result of being choked. So therefore, Pantaleo did not use a “headlock” it was in fact a chokehold. Which last time I checked was illegal? If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s not a damn mongoose.

And for Mr. Lynch to suggest that Eric Garner somehow died due to his health issues is disgraceful. The autopsy showed Garner suffered from asthma, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Mr. Lynch used these ailments to say that these were the main contributing factors in Garner’s death. Last time I checked, that video did not depict Eric Garner randomly having a fatal asthma attack, heart attack, or falling suddenly into cardiac arrest. That video clearly showed an illegal choke hold being placed on him which directly caused his untimely death.  Only one person is responsible for the death of Eric Garner. That person is Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

Patrick Lynch should be ashamed of himself for making such ignorant and irresponsible comments. The fact the he in essence sanctioned the murder of an innocent civilian by a public servant is flat out wrong. By supporting Officer Pantaleo’s illegal actions, Lynch is making it crystal clear that this type of lawless behavior by law enforcement officials is sanctioned by the NYPD.  He instead should be calling for better training for officers in the police academies on how to deal with suspects rather than blaming a deceased individual for his own death.

Alexander Goodwin

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