A new week means a new chance for an unjust cop to avoid an indictment, and for the internet to turn into an All In The Family episode of Meathead arguing with Archie Bunker. But unlike the situation in Ferguson, where misleading testimony surrounded the shooting of Michael Brown on the account of no cameras, the case involving the death of Eric Gardner was clearer than Kim Kardashian’s photoshopped arse. Even Bill O’ Reilly conceded that Eric Gardner shouldn’t have been put in that chokehold, and when he becomes the voice of reason….
Even if Grand Juries almost always don’t indict police officers (we should arm grand juries with body cameras), it doesn’t take away from the fact that the NYPD’s own handbook–dating back to 2005–strictly prohibited the use of chokeholds. In fact, the NYPD was discussing the banning the use of chokeholds to subdue offenders– which are restraining maneuvers that cut off the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain – in the early 1990s due to the alarming numbers of deaths of suspects in police custody.
From Huffington Post:
In 1993, then-Commisioner Ray Kelly banned the use of chokeholds by officers, the New York Times reported.
The prohibited tactic was made even more explicit in the 2005 NYPD handbook:
All members of the service at the scene of a police incident must:
a. Immediately establish firearms control
b. Use minimum necessary force
c. Employ non-lethal alternatives, as appropriate.
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. Whenever it becomes necessary
to take a violent or resisting subject into custody, responding officers should
utilize appropriate tactics in a coordinated effort to overcome resistance (for
example see P.G. 216-05, “Aided Cases-Mentally Ill or Emotionally Disturbed Persons”).
The patrol supervisor, if present, should direct and control all activity. Whenever
possible, members should make every effort to avoid tactics, such as sitting or
standing on a subject’s chest, which may result in chest compression, thereby reducing
the subject’s ability to breathe.
And the New York Times pointed out that the policy made no such distinctions between various types of chokeholds, but rather categorically banned them all. Moreover, the NY Times article also stated that “standing on a suspect’s chest” or “transporting a suspect in a face-down position“–something of which obstructs breathing–was also explicitly banned.
So while some may argue that ambiguity surrounded the Michael Brown shooting, not even the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Clan can make such a case in the death of Eric Garner. Alas, we’re cynically married to the idea that police, despite being totally out of control, are legally protected to kill whom they choose.
H/T: FreedomOutPost|Featured image via Youtube Screengrab