I'm struggling to understand the right-wing response to the grand jury's failure to indict in the Eric Garner chokehold case. Yes, I know that Rand Paul has blamed Garner's death on the cigarette taxes he was trying to avoid by selling "loosies," and other right-wingers have also blamed these so-called "nanny state" taxes, while Glenn Reynolds has called for the privatization of police forces -- but there's a surprising amount of legitimate concern on the right with what's seen on the Garner videotape.
"... I will say that upon seeing the video that you just saw and hearing Mr. Garner say he couldn't breathe, I was extremely troubled. I would have loosened my grip. I desperately wish the officer would have done that."Judge Andrew Napolitano:
There was ample evidence to indict; and the grand jury made a grievous error by not doing so.Charles Krauthammer:
... I have seen a videotape of the incident and it reveals probable cause to show that the police officer used grossly excessive force on a non-violent, non-threatening person. It also reveals he cried and screamed for help because by compacting his chest, his breathing was impaired. The police did nothing to save his live; yet they accelerated his death needlessly. On the basis of the tape alone, I have a clean conscience making such an assertion that an indictment was warranted.
From looking at the video, the grand jury's decision here is totally incomprehensible. It look as if at least they might've indicted him on something like involuntary manslaughter at the very least. The guy actually said, "I can't breathe," which ought to be a signal that-- and the guy was unarmed....Andrew McCarthy:
... there is a difference between resisting arrest by not cooperating, as Garner was doing in Staten Island, and resisting arrest by violent assaults and threats of harm, as Michael Brown did in Ferguson. Police deserve a very wide berth in responding to the latter, but less of one with the former. I thus cannot in good conscience say there was insufficient probable cause to indict Officer Pantaleo for involuntary manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide.These guys sound serious about this.
But I'm going to engage in some irresponsible speculation and argue that what they're reacting to is not excessive force on the part of Officer Pantaleo but inadequate force. I think if Officer Pantaleo had pulled out his gun and shot Eric Garner, right-wingers would be defending the cop -- even if we had a videotape that was essentially identical apart from the cause of death, with Garner clearly not engaging in violent resistance.
Think about it. What would have happened if Pantaleo had shot Garner and the whole incident had been captured on video? He and his lawyer would have cooked up a cockamamie story about Garner faking his breathlessness while furtively reaching for a weapon, or seeming to, a gesture that might have been invisible on the videotape but was obvious to the cop, who simply had to respond with lethal force.
What right-wing pundit would question that story?
Pantaleo didn't give these guys enough violence. He wasn't the cultural avenger they crave, the warrior they worship. Perhaps more important, unlike Darren Wilson or George Zimmermanm, Pantaleo didn't try to portray himself as Garner's victim. Right-wing pundits crave victimhood, too. He didn't deliver.
Watch what happens when there's no indictment of the cop who shot twelve-year-old Tamir Rice for playing with a toy gun -- there'll be no right-wing outrage, even though that incident is, if anything, more horrifying than this one, and was caught on video as well. A cop claimed to be in fear. He did the manly thing and shot to kill. And right-wing pundits have expressed no qualms whatsoever.