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Excessive Police Force in Michael Brown and Eric Garner?

Updated on December 2, 2014
Michael Brown
Michael Brown

Let's cut to the chase. In both cases, both victims were huge, black, men. Both died at the hands of police officers during the arrest. Both had committed minor misdemeanor crimes, some might say, petty infractions. Both men gave police attitude and resisted to some degree. In both cases, the police confronting both were white. Both cases went to the grand jury for an indictment against the police for excessive force. Both cases have ignited a huge public debate and uproar about excessive police use of force. Both men were unarmed. Both died for stupid reasons.

Was excessive force used against Michael Brown in Ferguson? Most will say that until the gun came into play, not so. There had been an altercation between MB and Wilson after the stop. MB displayed a real "badass" attitude that provoked Wilson. Wilson had a job to do, that was to arrest MB for theft once Wilson had identified MB as the suspect with evidence in his hands. MB was physically a huge dude when compared to Wilson, so Wilson was scared. Many huge men carry size attitude with them. MB did this when he stole the cigars and the small store owner was threatened and pushed aside when MB was tried to be stopped. Yet, MB did not seem he would willingly go into custody. During the last seconds of his life, of the 30 witnesses, over half of them state his hands were not up in "surrender" mode, but MB was actually moving towards Wilson with the gun aimed. The other half state he was in "surrender" mode, after all, Wilson had shot him already but not fatally. MB was defiant. His defiance about police probably was handed down from his parents and "homies". His defiance was agitated first at the theft in the store and then when Wilson confronted him. MB had decided he was not "going down" at the hands of a white man. I say this because throughout the whole incident, MB could have avoided it all with cooperation of some sort. Granted, he might be jail for a petty crime, but he would be alive! MB refused to take Wilson seriously and did not respect police. At the very end, Wilson said he was unsure if MB was unarmed and when MB reached into his pants, Wilson's fear exploded, and right or wrong, shot MB dead. MB was less than 20 feet from him- that is damn close. Was it excessive? I still say, yes, because Wilson could have wounded MB further to cripple him. But, police will tell you, in training, they are not taught to cripple a suspect but to kill. Aim for the chest, not leg or arm. So, maybe training should be amended to cripple a suspect who resists. Was Wilson guilty? Not really, he feared for his life as MB approached. Wilson was scared. MB was huge guy. MB had already challenged Wilson's authority many times. MB was resisting arrest. He was not some teen just walking home. He was a suspect in a petty crime. He knew it. Maybe he wanted to confront police. Still, Wilson should have just crippled him. He would be alive.

As for Eric Garner, this simply outrages me. Eric is another huge dude. Police were attempting to arrest him for what is the most pitiful excuse: the sale of untaxed cigarettes. He had been arrested for this before. This seems minor on its face, but maybe New York state needs every cent in taxes. At first, a single police officer attempted to arrest him outside of a store. Eric's size made this impossible and additional police were called. As the video shows, the gang of police slowly got closer to him and then swarmed upon him. Eric fell to the ground and during the scuffle, a police officer placed a choke hold around his neck. He began to gasp and he shouted he could not breath. Eric would die from a heart attack brought on by the police action. Two police officers were put on desk duty or leave. The EMT's who responded lost their jobs.

The police action violated their procedural policy and the choke hold was illegal for police to use on suspects. The actions of the two officers have gone to the grand jury for an indictment against them for crimes of excessive force and involuntary manslaughter. This is grand jury must come back with an indictment. It is a simple decision. The coroner declared it was a homicide.

Eric Garner


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    • profile image

      bdo 3 years ago

      No sir. Black skin is good for protection.

      Being a black man in america is like being in a monster truck. You have tons of protection. None of the other vehicles want to get in your way. The problem with the black man is he is wreckless wth all that protection. The black man thinks just because he has all that extra protection he does not have to obey the rules. Therefore he usually wrecks himself. And people think that monster trucks are not safe.

      If I was black I would use black skin to my advantage in a good way. Black skin would be like an insurance policy for a white policemen. I bet all the black cops are thinking they are glad they are not white.

      No more nonsense. Paint the pigs black!

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 3 years ago

      Surely, you must be sarcastic.....

    • profile image

      big daddy oreo 3 years ago

      I think this was excessive force. However it is only going to make the news when a white kills a black. This is misleading in many ways. I personally think a black male is the safest thing to be in america. I do not think the media wants us to know it. Here is how black skin is protection.

      1. Black skin reduces your chances of getting robbed walking down the street.

      2. Black skin can keep you safe in prison. Or in a bad neighborhood.


    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 3 years ago from Orange County California


      On the Eric Gamer issue, how would you treat it if this was a self defense issue. That is in place of the officer, put a citizen of the same size. Would you also call for involuntary manslaughter.

      The bottom line is that any method used to restrain a six foot three inch, three hundred and fifty pound man that doesn't want to be restrained would have been deemed excessive force.

      In both of these cases, the victim could have ended the arrest peacefully.

      Using the chokehold against police policy is not an automatic reason for criminal action.

      It is just one of the things to take into account by the Grand Jury. My point is that we the people are not the judge and jury, that is why the law designates judges and juries for the criminal process.

      The law also doesn't authorize vigilantes to execute justice.


    • perrya profile image

      perrya 3 years ago

      I tend to agree. The MB is a dead horse. Eric Garner is a bit different and the video does show excessive force for such a minor offense. Of course, the police die not know of existing issues, but it was the illegal chokehold that led to the heart attack, so I can see involuntary manslaughter charges being filed

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 3 years ago from Orange County California


      I think this hub is pushing a dead horse.

      In both of these cases, the victims could have prevented any further action by the police.

      In California, this infraction as you call it, automatically escalates to a felony when you resist arrest and attack a police office.

      It is like the rules in football that protect the quarterback.

      In cities where there is a big black population, it is not a surprise that a white cop will encounter a black suspect. It is also known that a huge percentage of our jails and prisons are filled with blacks. So it is not unusual for these encounters to occur.

      What is wrong with these situations is when the public tries to automatically incite the country by linking it to racial discrimination.

      Are these incidents examples of excessive force. In the Michael Briwn case there was on fatal shot, but three other shots went into his arm. Unless proven otherwise, MB made continuing aggreswsion towards Wilson. MB as you said could have stopped at any time.

      I believe that many blacks like MB think that they have a wild card because they are black.

      As for the other case with the choke hold, I don't know enough about the details. Why did the EMT get fired. I don't know what the condition of his heart was before the choke hold.

      It is clear to me that police training across the country could be improved. In Califronia for example, I think that these car chases are not handled properly. I think that NJ has a dedicated team and procedure for the car chases. But CA puts the entire public at risk, and yes the suspect could stop at any time, but there is no real communication mechanism during these chases.

      Yet, any deaths or injuries resulting by police action is imputed to the suspect. Today, there doesn't seem to be any improvement by the police in CA in handling car chases.

      When you want to compare excessive force, then you should use the Rodney King 1991 police beating in Los Angeles.

      BTW for some reason the hp spell checker doesn't seem to acknowledge Los Angeles.