Following the announcement Wednesday that a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict the NYPD officer who placed Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Garner would not have died if he hadn’t been so “obese.”
“If he had not had asthma and a heart condition and was so obese, almost definitely he would not have died from this,” King said. “The police had no reason to know he was in serious condition.”
The city’s medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide and attributed it to the use of a chokehold by officer Daniel Pantaleo. Garner had repeatedly exclaimed “I can’t breathe” during the arrest, as seen in the video recorded by bystanders. Nevertheless, King questioned whether Garner had pleaded for help, telling Blitzer, “The fact is, if you can’t breathe, you can’t talk.” He added: “I have no doubt if that was a 350-pound white guy, he would have been treated the same.”
King also suggested recently that President Obama invite Darren Wilson to the White House to thank the former Ferguson police officer for doing his job.
Rep. King suggests President Obama invite Darren Wilson to the White House:
Vox.com breaks down the racism of the US justice system in 10 charts:
What’s your perspective on Rep. Peter King’s take on the death of Eric Garner? We already know the medical examiner’s office confirmed Garner’s death was a homicide. Is Rep. King’s defense of the actions NYPD officers took against Garner legitimate?
Personally, I feel that politicians, especially in large cities like New York City, need to use this time constructively to cultivate open dialogue with their constituents. Rep. King defends the actions of the NYPD in the case of an arrest that led, in real terms, to Garner’s murder, but he needed to use that opportunity to put this tragedy in a greater, national context. There is something going on here – injustice at a national level – and it needs to be recognized. A functional society could not exist in any recognizable form without the police officers who risk their lives everyday protecting citizens, but it’s become quite evident that police reform on a national level might be the only way to reverse a status quo many feel is out of control. It might be finally be time for America’s police force to renew its vows.