Eric Garner’s Daughter Voices Her Thoughts On Why Cop Used A Chokehold On Her Father (Video)

erica-garnerMost people rarely talk about the rampant false equivalencies that plague our media, because many people fall for them. Comparisons between one thing and another that sound good, but really don’t make a whole lot of sense if you just sit there and think about it.


Even with the stories such as Mike Brown and Eric Garner dominating the headlines the last couple of weeks, much of the talk in the media is how these killings “had to be” racially motivated. When the reality is, the only “evidence” anyone really has that either of these killings were “racially motivated” is because the police officers were white and the victims were black. And while I’m not denying that there could have been racial motivations behind both of these incidents, to simply jump to the conclusion that any and every incident that involves a white cop and a black male is based upon race does an injustice to actual racism.

And in the case of Eric Garner, I don’t believe at all that it was racially motivated. I’m not saying I think the cop’s behavior was justified, but Garner was being approached by officers for allegedly committing a crime he had been found guilty of committing in the past and Garner was fairly hostile and uncooperative at the time of this confrontation.

But I’m not the not the only one who doesn’t think Garner’s death is tied to racism – apparently his daughter, Erica Garner, doesn’t either. In fact, I think she hit the nail on the head about why the cop used a chokehold on her father, during an interview on CNN when she was asked by Don Lemon if she felt her father’s death was racially motivated.

“I really doubt it,” Erica said. “It was about the officer’s pride. It was about my father being 6’4″ and 350 pounds and he wants to be the top cop that brings a big man down.”

And while that might sound very simplified, I think she’s right.

Nobody is really disputing that these officers had the right to arrest Garner. He was in fact a convicted criminal suspected of committing the same crime, so I’m not sure how someone could claim this was racially motivated. Just because he happened to be African-American doesn’t negate the fact that he was a convicted criminal suspected of committing the same crime. Were officers not supposed to approach him because of his race?


But I could absolutely see some insecure, overly-macho police officer wanting to “brag” about taking down a 6’4″ 350 pound suspect. Though I still don’t think the officer meant for Garner to die. But I’m a guy and I know how stupid and immature we can sometimes be about these things. If you doubt me, go visit a local bar or restaurant such as Buffalo Wild Wings on a night that they’re showing the UFC PPV and witness how many guys there suddenly think that they’re cage fighters because they just watched a few of them on television.

While I’m sure there will still be some who dismiss her comments, I think she’s absolutely right when she said that she didn’t believe that this was about race, but instead an insecure officer who saw Garner as some kind of a “trophy” for him to take down and brag about.

Watch the interview below via CNN:




Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Rob Bailey

    I have a friend that’s a policeman – and conservative – and we’ve been in a conversation about how this played out. I believe the manpower levied at this guy was ridiculous for the alleged offense, and my cop buddy maintains that it was a result of top-down political pressure to stop “tax evading” cig sellers. That is, pressure is on these low-level cops to enforce a law in an overly-aggressive fashion.
    This low-level – albeit overly-aggressive cop – probably isn’t guilty of a major crime, but his bosses may be… Sad however one looks at it…

  • Andy Kinnard

    I suspect that racism is a factor in the instant calculus the officer performs during the moment he decides to do something questionable in order to take a big guy down. If Garner had been big, rich, white guy doing the same (or similar crime), especially in a different neighborhood, the cop wouldn’t have done it.

    • Tee

      Exactly. Racism was most definitely a factor. But only in the sense that the white officer knew he most likely would get away with mistreating, mishandling and killing a black person. No matter the black person did or did not do.

      • Jim Bean

        I doubt it was because he thought he ‘could away with it’. I’d sooner think it was because he knew statistically, the black guy posed a greater danger to him.

        In illustration, there are several ‘races’ of bears. Grizzly and Black Bear are two. It is well documented that Grizzlies are more aggressive and violent than Black Bears. Therefore, if a Grizzly is coming rapidly towards me, I am likely to shoot sooner than if it is a Black Bear where the probability he won’t harm me is much greater. Scientifically, this is referred to as ‘survival instinct.’

  • red7eric

    Well, there are two events here: the killing of Eric Garner, and the non-indictment by the Grand Jury. I can buy that the first had more to do with ego than with race (although the “big guy” in this case is a “big black guy” and we can’t ever know what impact that had). The inaction by the Grand Jury was absolutely a race thing. There’s no question in my mind.

    • Bob H

      Exactly.
      You saved me some typing.

    • Kiltedbear

      Yes, not to mention that they were arresting him for *busting* up a fight between two others. I think Eric rightfully felt singled out because this was not the first time. He may have been in trouble before, but it’s clear here all he wanted here was to be left alone if you see the whole video. Why did they focus on him for breaking up a fight?

      • whatamess

        He also stated “I ALREADY TOLD YOU LAST TIME that I’m just trying to make a living for my kids”…i.e. he had ALREADY been told not to be selling illegal cigs and obviously given a break once and yet continued…so, how many more breaks?

      • Nikki DePaulo

        lol @ illegal cigs. hahahahaha ^_^ ok. just go ahead and add all kinds of negative vocabulary in there to justify the officers jumping him the way they did.

  • Tee

    I agree with her. I made this point before the fake attempt at an indictment. My people came at me left and right calling me a coon and accusing me of being on the side of the “white” officer and white people. My whole point in this case EG was breaking the law (even a simple one) and did not comply with commands by the officer.(even if he were being harassed by the cops) Now did they approach him because he was black. I don’t think so. That officer saw an OPPORTUNITY to disrespect EG while making himself look like some super cop. That cop knew like a bully on the playground at that moment he could do whatever he wanted to this victim. (victim being a black man who happens to be 350lb 6’4) I believe the cop escalated EG’s frustration with them into physical contact and then murder.

  • Jenna Williamson Marisco

    Yea well… the racism part came after when the cop wasn’t indicted for killing a suspect. What happened to standard procedure and due process? I saw the video, The guy wasn’t resisting on the ground. He was laying still and saying he couldn’t breathe. Why continue to suffocate him? How is any of this ok??

  • Macdoodle

    There was a black female police sergeant supervising the arrest even tho the media refuses to report that.That eliminates any racial component to this incident and will ensure the feds cant charge the officer with a civil rights violation.

    • Rob Bailey

      Bull shit. It was extensively covered on CNN. Maybe if you’d change the channel every once in a while you wouldn’t post so much “Faux” information.

    • fedele

      Supervising? I’ve seen and heard two different videos and all she was doing was standing there. She was just as much a spectator as those who video taped the scene. She said, “I believe I heard him say he couldn’t breathe. ” She BELIEVES? Two different videos and you can hear him say plain as day that he couldn’t breathe, not just once, multiple times. Did she intervene? NO. When the other officers realized he wasn’t responding (not breathing), did she intervene and check his pulse? NO. That’s not supervising, it’s apathy. Being “in charge” implies more than a modicum of responsibility, she was derelict in her responsibility just as much as the officer who choked Mr. Garner. On a final note, we all have heard stories how difficult women officers have in “club blue”, nevermind being black. Can you imagine the repercussions she would have faced if she called all those white, male, adrenalin rushed officers out on their mishandling of the situation? Especially with all the citizens watching? They cover their own asses. Her color that day was blue.

      • Andy Kinnard

        What was even worse was the part of the video that showed EMTs literally doing NOTHING in response to EG’s going limp and stopping breathing. EG was clearly not breathing, but they didn’t start CPR or use an ambubag on him…basic medical responses that could be performed by almost anyone. It was obscene and, IMHO, indicated an attitude being shared among police and first responders that, basically, he should (or deserved to) die (for having been subjected to a choke hold takedown).

    • Andy Kinnard

      Mac, I’m going to suggest something that you obviously have not entertained or may have rejected already, but here goes: Racial minority members are capable of being racist (even victimizing people of their own race).

  • jfo

    I agree, that perhaps the biggest part of this was taking down a big guy and bragging about it – but the mere fact that you describe Eric Garner as “fairly hostile” when I watched the same video as you and I didn’t see a hostile man – leads me to think that perhaps you don’t even understand how much racism seeps into our thoughts and colors our perception. I saw a man denying the allegations against him (as just about everyone would do, whether guilty or not) and waving his hands about as if to say “don’t arrest me, I haven’t done anything” – which again, most people would do. Even as they’re jumping on him, he’s still not hostile – hell, that man PROBABLY could have flung that little bastard 10 feet off of him had he wanted to…but he didn’t. I think though, what bothers me the most about most of these shootings, killings and otherwise blatant examples of police brutality is the utter lack of giving a sh!t by any of the officers. Countless examples have shown that after they shot, harmed, or otherwise choked the breath out of their “perps” they all just stood around like “what now?” I mean…we can’t actually believe they’re that collectively stupid…but indifferent? Oh yeah, I definitely believe that. heck, the SC Trooper who shot that man after asking for ID and not waiting to see if the guy reaching into his car was getting what he asked for, he at the very least rushed to the side of his victim and called for assistance immediately. So, even while race colored his perception and caused him to do something he likely never would have done if the guy reaching into his car were white, he still had a shred of humanity left as he made sure the guy was ok. Meanwhile, these asshats stand around high fiving each other for taking down a 350 man selling cigarettes? REALLY? Sorry, I think we’re using our officers all wrong…they aren’t the strong arm of “the man” making sure the “little crooks” are beat into oblivion, while the wall street crooks get bonuses and no one dares tackle, choke hold and take the life from them as they exit their high rises. If that aint a little bit about racism – it’s definitely about classism…and frankly, we ought to be angry as hell either way.

    • fedele

      Excellent response. I agree with everything you wrote.

    • GenerallyConfused

      Very well put. And I agree wholehearted.

  • Cemetery Girl

    I don’t know if race truly is a factor in these cases or if it is poor/over zealous officers. The views of some of the public do show that racism is still a major problem in this country though. When comments on a story of a 12 year old being shot and killed by the police in Cleveland strongly reflect the general attitude of “thugs deserve to be killed by the police”, there is a problem in our society. When a meme of a black person protesting has his sign changed from mothers of black children have to worry about their safety when walking down the street to when committing robbery, and the meme becomes popular, our society has a problem. We need to examine our racial relations.

  • Recoloniser

    Weeeell. There IS a racial aspect here. At least to my mind. Cops are predominantly white. And perps and suspects they come across are often non-white. The fallacy they tend to conclude from this has been highlighted many times before: if most of the people they arrest are black (and that can be the case depending on the area), it’s easy to conclude that most black people are criminals. It’s a fallacy that was refuted by the ancient Greeks, but it still persists. It’s also racist.
    Maybe the death of Mr. Garner was a Greek tragedy in that both protagonists went to their inevitable fate because of their ubris. But the cop’s ubris had more than a smattering of racism in it.

  • Creeayshun Sighuntist

    First off, there are very few that I agree with most of the time, but Allen Clifton is one of those people. Please keep up the great work!

    It really seems that there are people around the country right now that would just rather have police not do their jobs and run away from any non-white person who they suspect is breaking the law. And if they resist or are non-compliant, well that police officer or group of officers should just leave then I guess…….Is that really the correct response in a civilized country?

    I really don’t like to see anyone harmed in instances like this, let alone die, but Garner was really just daring the officers to try and take him down. He wasn’t saying anything bad or making any threats, but he certainly was not cooperative even with a group of officers surrounding him. It was pretty obvious that he wasn’t going anywhere without the use of some kind of force by the police. What then are the other options available to get him to comply? Tasing? Probably not a good idea. Mace? Nah, probably not. Let him go because he doesn’t want to go? Well, if that’s the case, prepare to see that a lot in the future I guess.

  • Jim Bean

    You see what’s happening here don’t you Allen? You are drifting to the right – something that is inevitable as we age, mature, and absorb more information.

    I like it.