The New York City grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner is much harder to justify than the St. Louis grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Michael Brown. It is very unfortunate that these cases come so closely together, which plays into the hands of the race-obsessed demagogues. And we should reserve final judgment about what happened in Staten Island until we learn about all the evidence the grand jury considered — although the extensive video in the Garner case makes it very hard to reserve judgment. I have a column attempting to analyze what we know about the Garner case on the homepage. Here’s my bottom line:
I don’t think race had anything to do with what happened between Eric Garner and the police. I intend to keep an open mind until we learn all the evidence the grand jury relied on. And I continue to believe the NYPD is the best police force there is. But I also know, as good cops know, that 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.