Excessive Police Force in Michael Brown and Eric Garner?
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.