Another unarmed black man was killed in NYC but this incident was very different from the one in Ferguson.
This time, the man was being confronted by several officers because he was allegedly selling cigarettes without paying taxes. After some discussion the officers jump on the large man and put him in a strangle hold. The footage is tragic and really disturbing, as you can hear the man struggle to say ‘I can’t breathe’ before going limp.
A grand jury cleared the officer.
Glenn, Pat and Stu discuss their disappointment in the legal system for failing to indict the officer of any charges.
GLENN: Hello, America. Let me — let me be counterintuitive, I guess, not to you. Not to the fans. Not to the people who have listened for a long time, but I would imagine to the rest of the press. Let us be counterintuitive. While I disagree with the protests and what they're doing in New York, I strongly disagree with the decision of the grand jury in New York.
PAT: No question.
GLENN: I mean, I would like to see the parameters. I would like to see exactly what they were doing. How they made this decision?
STU: And that's the most — you have to know that part.
PAT: If they couldn't charge him with anything, but murder —
GLENN: I mean, manslaughter should have been considered. I don't know exactly how this happened, but I will tell you this: The decision of the grand jury in New York on the death of Eric Garner, here's a guy who was — was not resisting arrest. Was not being a jerk. The video is very, very clear. The police put him in a choke hold. Threw him down.
PAT: Against department policy, by the way.
GLENN: Right. He has a heart attack and dies. Now, did they —
PAT: And he's crying out the whole time. Just heart wrenching to hear him say. Please I can't breathe. I can't breathe. Over and over. Then he goes limp.
GLENN: How this cop did not go to jail, was not held responsible is beyond me?
STU: Not even indicted. I think if you to get to a trial there are a lot more questions. But should he have been indicted? It seems that way.
GLENN: This is ridiculous.
STU: The jury's rationale was not made public.
GLENN: But that is important. If you're not indicting — for instance, in Ferguson, we know the rationale, we know what happened. We know there were witnesses. There were actual black witnesses that testified in favor of the cop. That said, I saw it. And what everybody is saying in the press, that didn't happen.
So we know exactly what happened in Ferguson. We know why that jury verdict came out the way it did. This one, we don't. And you got nothing, but a vacuum. We have to understand: How could you have possibly come up with this particular verdict? What went wrong?
When you look at what they did to this guy and putting him in a choke hold like that, it's inexcusable. Absolutely inexcusable.
PAT: And brutal. One of them has him in a choke hold. Knee on his head. Couple others pin him down elsewhere. Huge guy. 350 pounds. Has asthma. He's telling them, I can't breathe. Do you not at that point at least lighten up at that point. He's not even resisting. He didn't punch anybody. I've seen the video start to finish when the cops first arrive. I guess his deal is he's sold illegal cigarette on the streets.
In New York? Wait a minute. What does it mean to sell illegal cigarettes? It means the state didn't get their tax dollars. It's not that they're more dangerous than regular cigarettes. It means these were cigarettes that were purchased through the company and then sold on the street without the state getting their tax dollars. So they killed a man for their tax dollars.
PAT: That's bad.
GLENN: That makes it even worse.
PAT: It's really bad. And all he's doing at the beginning — he's not even resisting, he's just yelling at them to leave him alone. I didn't do anything. Leave me alone. Just let —
STU: Yeah. It's a light resist. It's a talkative resisting arrest.
PAT: It's not physical. When they say, put your hands behind your back. He doesn't swing on them.
STU: As soon as they take physical control of the situation. They can put his hands behind his back. They can push him to the ground. They can't do the choke hold fortunately. He doesn't do anything physical to resist. He's not even arguing about being pushed to the ground. He just says, I can't breathe. I'm about as pro cop as humanly allow allowable.
GLENN: I won't let you get away with that. We're all pro cop.
STU: I didn't say you weren't.
GLENN: I know, but you will give the benefit of the doubt to the cop in every possible scenario.
STU: I do not agree with that analysis.
PAT: Anybody who heard the show yesterday would.
STU: Again, I would disagree with that analysis. I'm fine with it. If you're going to err with the judgment on me and it's towards being pro police. That's probably too pro police. I think there are people in the audience that think that. And you guys probably think that. Which is fine. But even in this case. I don't know what the grand jury did.
GLENN: That's the problem. When you're in a grand jury, they give you specific parameters. So they say you can't consider this. You can't consider this. You can't do this. This doesn't count. And you're like, well —
STU: They may have only been going for murder and weren't allowing manslaughter.
STU: Person guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when he recklessly causes the death of someone. Yeah, I think so. It's at least worth a try.
GLENN: Yes, it is. You have to remember, a grand jury is not a jury trial. It is: Here are the facts. Is there enough that says we should look into this?
PAT: And the parameters could also be: Is he guilty of only homicide or murder in the first degree? Well, obviously it wasn't premeditated. I don't think there was intent to kill. They just did.
STU: I agree. They wanted to subdue him. He's a very large guy. Maybe they thought they needed a lot of force. But what they did wasn't okay. And the guy didn't die by choking. He had asthma and he died of a heart attack.
PAT: Brought on by not being able to breathe. Panic attack.
STU: They classified it as a homicide, the coroner did.
PAT: They did...
GLENN: Here's the thing, if you were in New York and you were there for the lighting of the tree, would you listen — would you listen to these protesters if they were walking down the street holding signs that said, F the tree, and they were chanting there with your children, F the tree. And they're snarling at traffic and everything, F the tree. F the cops.
STU: Let's just judge it on the merits of the case. We don't need swearing.
GLENN: If you did what Martin Luther suggested to do, that is, they could have easily gone into that crowd singing O Holy Night, and people would have said, what is this? They're closing it down, and they're sitting in the center of the street and they're singing O Holy Night. And one person just gets up and says, this doesn't make sense to us. Americans would have stopped and listen to them. Instead, it's no justice, no peace. F the cops. F the tree. Nobody will listen to you.
PAT: It doesn't make sense.
GLENN: It doesn't.
STU: I saw his wife or fiancé — I guess his wife — on TV this morning sitting right next to Al Sharpton. Al Sharpton is an incredible liar who tried to take every other case you've heard of where the police didn't do anything wrong and envelope it into this case. Weakening the strength of this case of a guy who really died for the wrong reasons. He's like: Look, this is the same thing that happened in Ferguson —
PAT: No, it's not.
STU: You listen to three or four cases. No. It's not the same. Why can't you judge people — Al Sharpton is not out there because he cares about this person. He's out there for what he wants and power. And taking on his counsel is detrimental to her late husband. It really is. People will just not listen to you. I mean, a lot of conservatives have come out on Eric Garner's side on this. Which is not common.
Something you said conservatives are pro cop. A lot of them will give the benefit of the doubt no matter what happens except this case. This is the only one in history.
PAT: That's a little extreme.
GLENN: I think it's important as conservatives to stand up against the grand jury on this particular —
GLENN: — event. Yeah, it's important. If you want to have any credibility, you cannot lump Ferguson with this one. This is the New York police completely out of control. They did not murder him, but manslaughter, absolutely should have been considered. Why that wasn't considered is beyond me.
STU: We don't know.
GLENN: Right. And this is the way Americans deal with injustice. We let the system work. The system didn't work here. Now let's calmly and rationally say, why didn't the system work? What were the instructions to the grand jury, what was the evidence that they said didn't matter? Because we've seen the video. Now, explain to me how that's not manslaughter. And if you can't rationally explain it or if it's because of some loophole, we has Americans need to fix that loophole. We need to figure out what it is. But we need to do it without saying F the tree.
STU: Hopefully we can fix this case. There are other avenues we can go down. Hopefully the next one can —
GLENN: We don't shut cities down. We don't burn doughnut shops. And we don't destroy cars. That's what we don't do.