The Take-A-Way: Eric Garner & Police Chokeholds

ericgarnerOn July 17 of 2014, Eric Garner was being arrested for illegally selling cigarettes in Staten Island. During the process of him being arrested, a police officer placed a chokehold on Garner who died shortly thereafter (see photo to the right.) The autopsy recently revealed that Mr. Garner’s death will be ruled a homicide. This chokehold maneuver has been banned and the police officer who used it apparently caused the death of Mr. Garner and the police department will likely be sued–as they should be.

According to reports, Eric Garner was 6 feet 3 inches and approximately 350 pounds. He was also an asthmatic. During his arrest, which was recorded on video (see below,) he is heard saying that he could not breathe. After Mr. Garner stated that he could not breathe, it appears that the police officer continued to do the chokehold anyway. So, what should we think? Here’s what I think…

  1. I’m angry with police for using a maneuver that was banned. It was banned for a reason. When a person dies as a result of a banned maneuver whose fault is it? Surely, not the victims.
  2. Communities, government officials, and law enforcement need to come together. We need to demand our police officers to use different tactics.ย  The use of the chokehold was brutal, unnecessary and people should not be killed in this way.
  3. Many people will argue that Mr. Garner’s size was justification for the police to use the chokehold but it is not. Just because the victim was 6’3″ and 350 pounds does not justify police to use an outlawed maneuver.
  4. If/when you are stopped by police, listen to what they are saying, do not make sudden movements, don’t talk back, don’t give your opinion, do as you are told. It may not prevent a police officer from using unnecessary force, but I believe it is a step in the right direction. If you are able to go home after you’ve been stopped or arrested, you can then call a lawyer, but you can’t call a lawyer if you are dead. Everyone must remember that.
  5. We need to have some community forums with police officers. Everyday people are not the enemy.

I’d like to say that I’ve worked with several police officers in my work and I’ve met some wonderful people. But, the bad apples who are using chokeholds do not need to be in the police force. The bad apples are scary and KILLING PEOPLE. If you can bear to watch, the video is below.





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