Mr Mr Garner, Officer And Mr Garner discussed on Diane Rehm: On My Mind


Hi diane on my mind. A man with family lost his life life. That is an irreversible tragedy in a hardworking police officer with the family of man took this job to do good to make a difference in his home. Community has now lost his chosen a different kind of tragedy this week the n._y._p._d. Fired dan pantaleo the officer who's chokehold led to the death had eric. Garner is king five years after garner's plea. I had ah reed helped. Ignites black lives matter movement while the police union denounced the n._y._p._d.'s decision jn eric garner's family applauded the move but they say it's not enough my guest paul butler agrees agrees he's professor at georgetown school of law and authored the book chokehold policing black men so paul butler remind us what happened happened to eric garner five years ago and tell us why this story even after five years is not over yet. Eric garner was an african american man. A father husband who lived in staten island. He worked for the city for a long meantime and then when there were troubles in the finances in new york he got laid off and we know that he apparently partly sold loosey cigarettes individual cigarettes. They're caught. Lucy's on the street corner there untaxed cigarettes so it's illegal legal to sell them so there was a market for this including in this this little park right outside the staten island ferry and so zero one day officer daniel pantaleo along with others rode up on mr garner and accused him of selling lucy's yes and he said he wasn't selling lucy's other people in the vicinity that day say that he'd actually just broken up a fight. Mr garner was kind of a impeachable man. He was one of those good-humored kind of big guys. He was known for buying kids. He didn't know ice cream cones when the ice cream truck rolled around around so the officers roll up. They tried to arrest them a couple weeks before for selling lucy's and he was able to talk his way out of it with the officer. You know these are cops. They know who's doing what and so you know some of these officers at seem mr garner before they knew he wasn't dangerous type even if some some of them did think he was selling these new cigarettes so he tries to talk officer pantaleo out of it. He put up his hand and said oh man i'm selling lucy's do we have to do this today. Officer pantaleo interprets that as mr garner resisting arrest so he tackles him he drove him to the ground and then he puts is hands around mr garner's neck in this illegal goal maneuver known as a choko. A chokehold is a restraining tool that some law enforcement officers use to try to get you to comply but you can't comply diane because you cannot free. That's why it's against regulations. Most police departments there have been a number of documented instances in which people who are placed in this choko die and in fact it was illegal to do that in new york officer pantaleo has maintained that he did not used the chokehold maneuver but all of the people who looked at this including the administrative law judge who ended up firing or or writing the decision that authorized officer pintails firing they all say that he did use this maneuver and so officer pantaleo puts his hands on mr gardner's neck up mr garner says eleven times i can't breathe and then he dies on the street corner and this was all captured on videotape by a friend of mr garner's name ramsey orta and frankly diane. That's the only reason we're talking about this now. Because in this tragic video you see everything the thing that i just described see the officer holding mr garner with a choke hold surrounded by life three or four other officers. You hear mr garner say i cannot breathe and you watch him. Expire expire on the street. So one of the concerns is that it wasn't just officer pantaleo. There were a number of other other officers who were on the scene who look at mr garner and diane. I've seen people see a stray cat on the street and express more compassion than these officers did. When it's clear that mr garner there is an acute distress <hes> that's when they some in some first responders some medical technicians and they don't do do much to help mr garner either so he's transported to the hospital and he's pronounced dead ramsey order the young man who who shot the video scare. He's got this. This tragic story caught on tape but he's had a couple of run millions of the law and he's not sure what to do with it finally his conscious against the best of him. He thinks that the people have to see this and so the videos posted on social media the video goes viral and that's when the movie for black lack lives they see this. They understand that this isn't just about mr garner. This isn't just about the new york police department <hes> this is a a story about police violence that happens all too often and i can't reeve becomes becomes a rallying cry for the movement for black live. The other thing that happens all too often is the response why police and prosecutors to what happened to mr garner just a few days later. The medical examiner in new york says that mr mr garner's death was a homicide meaning that it was 'cause <hes> by the police work what they say is that mr garner he was a very large man he adds some pre existing conditions including asthma but that asthma was triggered by the officer essentially choking mr garner and so the cause of mr garnished death is homicide. The case is situated in staten island. Staten island is the most conservative borough in new york. It's the home of a lot of police officers firefighters and retire officers the staten island district attorney. He takes the case to the grand injury. The grand jury declined to bring charges against officer pantaleo officer pantaleo still on the force he's taken off the streets and and put on desk. Duty mirrored build applause eel the mirror campaign on a platform of reforming roaming the n._y._p._d. Mir applause yo has an african american son who he put in campaign ads the first time he was running for mayor talk talked about his concerns about his young son dante having to walk on the streets of new york where the police ace deservedly had a reputation for not treating everybody in the community fear lean especially not treating young african american and and latino men fairly and mir de blasios campaigns that we have to do better on this and that's what got him elected. There are a lot of folks in new york who would just fed up with how the n._y._p._d. Was acting but in this case the mir says will we have to let the system precede and the federal government is going to take a look at this case and the mir set. My hands are tied. I can't do anything about weather other officer. Pantaleo should remain in the fourth until the federal government decides whether it's going to bring charges at nets had her all government kept postponing have spending and postponing why did five years five years so the case actually started during the obama it ministration and for most of the time that the case was pending loretta lynch was the attorney general of the united states. The interesting thing is that before where she was attorney general loretta lynch was the united states attorney in brooklyn. She was part of a team team. That brought a case against <hes> n._y._p._d. Officer for putting a man in choke hill the man died loretta ed lynch head at the prosecution that convicted that officer of a civil rights violation and so there are a lot of people in the community entity who were encouraged that it was now attorney general lynch who would get to make the decision the career lawyers in the civil weitz division recommended that charges be brought which meant that they were persuaded that they could get officer pantaleo a._l. Convicted in federal court a civil rights violations but <hes> the local federal prosecutor brooklyn recommended a gantt charges so we have career professionals at main justice. Recommending charges be brought. We have federal lawyers. He's in brooklyn saying no <hes> attorney. General lynch didn't make a decision. You know a lot of people think the idea there was that president hillary clinton would be next and her attorney general would make the decision as as we all know president trump and his attorney general i attorney general sessions and then attorney general bar they had a whole whole different attitude about federal oversight of local police departments and just a couple of weeks ago five years after after mr gardner was killed attorney journal bar overrule the career professional lawyers in the civil rights division who recommended that charges be brought and he decided that there would be no federal prosecution of officer pantaleo so they then it comes to the police commissioner in new york to make the decision about officer pantaleo yes and so there was an administrator preceding that was kind of like a trial in which the judge heard heard evidence on both sides and then she wrote a forty seven page opinion in which she ruled that officer pantaleo pantaleo lied when he said that he had not put mr garner in a chokehold and she found that his conduct conduct <hes> was reckless meaning not only did he woefully put mr garner in this choko he he was well aware of the vest that this maneuver could kill mr garner and he did it anyway. Why is it the video video of the apprehension and show cold put into evidence it certainly was you know sometimes i am. We couldn't believe our our own is in this case that when we see this newer police officer literally choke you know sometimes people think show cold. It's a police maneuver. You know i don't have the expertise to know exactly what that is well. It's basically choking and person and you put your hands on the individuals individuals neck <hes> and you don't take them off until he does what you tell them to do. And that's exactly what we see and so the judge saw but the whole world saw in this video and she basically told the whole world that we can believe our own is that yes mr garner's death was caused by the choko that officer pantaleo put him in and she recommended it to the police commissioner that that he be removed from the force and just this week the police commissioner follow that advice <hes> officer pantaleo had been making a hundred and twenty thousand dollars a year. He actually got a raise. During this five year period after mr garner killed and now for the first time in five years we can say former officer in your portfolio now is it correct to believe that that chokehold had been declared i heard unlawful by the police department itself in one thousand nine hundred eighty three because all over the country when police use this maneuver suspects were dying again. It's really not that complicated complicate. The idea is you restrict the person's breathing to make them do what you're telling them to do. And sometimes it works in the sense that it gets the suspect to comply other times it results in serious injury or were death and so that's why nineteen ninety-three n._y._p._d. Outmoded most other police departments all over the country while their officers you cannot do do that. One of the concerns is that based on what folks in the street say the police still do this so and the five years since mr garner die dear ben eight hundred complaints to the n._y._p._d. About other cases in which officers zero have put people in show cult eight hundred again. Those are just allegations. What we do know is that they're forty. Instances instances in which the new york police department has agreed that officers illegally use choked and that's forty instances since mr..

Coming up next