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Cops Get Away With Murder Because They Know They Can. It’s America In Black and White.

| December 7, 2014

Eric Garner never had a chance.

Eric Garner never had a chance.

In the space of nine days, two grand juries in two different towns found it unassailable for a cop in one town to shoot and kill an unarmed man 12 times, and for a bunch of cops in another to brutalize an unarmed man as one of the cops put him in a fatal chokehold. In both cases the murdered men were young and black. In both cases their killers were white cops. And of course in both cases the prosecutors who were supposed to get an indictment from the grand jury used the proceedings instead to run interference for the cops they work with every day.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight reports that in 2010, the latest year for which numbers are available, federal grand juries declined to return indictments 11 times—out of 162,000 cases. In other words, grand juries failed to return an indictment 0.007 percent of the time. But two prosecutors walked off with a 100 percent whitewash rate for their cops. They covered for them. They gave them a pass. And killers walked free, because they had a badge, and because their victims were, after all, just black. That tells us where we are in this color-blind society. Blind is right: it’s the blindness of the smug.

We have a black president, but that’s been the irony in chief of a decade when too many whites take it as proof of their favored delusion: that we’re in a post-racial society. This in a country where the wealth gap between whites and blacks is wider than it was in South Africa under apartheid, and has gotten 40 percent worse since Nixon became president, and in a country where young black men without a high school diploma are more likely to be in prison than at a job. (Nicholas Kristoff outlined the facts you’ll never hear on Fox’s nightly hours of white self-pity in his “Whites Just Don’t Get It” series.)

Of course it’s blacks’ fault. They’re the jobless. They’re the moochers. They’re the criminals. There’s some truth to that when looking at the raw numbers, but only if you choose to cherry-pick and limit your historical perspective to yesterday’s brown-shirted version of talk radio. There’s more damning truth in the fact that blacks get sentenced to far longer terms than whites do for the same crimes, that a presumption of guilt shadows a black man far more than it does whites. What white person has experienced the assumption of threat that every black man has to live with in most whites’ eyes when they see him on the sidewalk, entering the elevator, waiting his turn at the ATM? None of that has changed in half a century of civil rights gains and Martin Luther King holiday sales, gains that effectively went into reverse, along with so much else in what George Packer calls America’s “unwinding,” since the Reagan years. Whether they’re a Harvard professor or a fat man selling cigarettes on a street corner, Blacks are still three-fifth suspects first and human beings last.

That’s what led to the killing of Eric Garner on Staten Island in July, Michael Brown in Ferguson a few weeks later, and of course Trayvon Martin in Sanford in 2012 and Jordan Davis in Jacksonville the same year. At least a man was convicted for the killing of Jordan. And to appease the cynics, let’s concede that there was some ambiguity in the homicides of Martin and Brown, in the sense that only their killers really knew what happened. But there was no such ambiguity in the killing of Garner, which was caught on a clear and indisputable video.

Garner is obviously unarmed. He’s not doing anything but standing at a street corner. He’d been arrested before for selling untaxed cigarettes and smoking pot, and he was probably selling cigarettes that day. Big deal. You don’t kill a man for that. You don’t even waste policing time on that. But it was Staten Island, which likes to think of itself as a place that has preserved a little touch of the old golden-age American where some people knew their place. Garner had, like most young black men, had his share of police harassment. He was in for it that day. “I’m minding my business, officer. I’m minding my business. Please, just leave me alone.” That’s what he told them. Then one of them tries to put handcuffs on him. He jumps on Garner, who at that point is no more than an animal to be harnessed. He puts a chokehold on Garner while three other cop goons rush in, then four, smash him to the ground and cuff him. One of them has his whole weight pressing on Garner’s head against the concrete. Garner is panting: “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

Watch the video. Watch the cops not give a damn. Watch them turn cigarette-selling into a crime against their version of humanity. And what humanity it is. Watch a man die because cops were indignant that a big fat black man in a t-shirt and shorts was daring to tell them to leave him alone. You don’t speak that way to cops. Not just on Staten Island, but anywhere in America, where reasoning with a cop is synonymous with resisting arrest, and resisting arrest is every hotshot cop’s self-fulfilling proof that the bastard was worth arresting in the first place. I can hear it now: Don’t resist. Comply. None of this would happen otherwise. Not that Garner was given a choice. The moment his killers jumped him, he was immediately fighting for his life, and his body reacted accordingly. To the cops, he was resisting. Therefore force was justifiable. Even deadly force.

So goes the circular snag of a cop’s cuff in a country so enamored of force that police agencies, including our own, use SWAT teams to serve warrants for marijuana possession—a substance less lethal than cigarettes—and no one bats an eye. People rather applaud even as the din makes the Fourth Amendment sound like a yappy poodle to be kicked to the curb. We love the brawn and the high-powered rifles. And if you brought in a tank to the festivities they’d probably salute and ask for the driver’s autograph. You can’t entirely blame those goons on Staten Island for making a beast of Eric Garner. It’s how the us-versus-them mentality that started emerging in the 1980s has enabled cops to see their “mission” as a war, with citizens as their enemies, and blacks of course, or anything off-white and worse, as worse than enemies: as animals. If you think this is hyperbole, have a look at the Eric Garner video. Nothing exaggerated there, especially not the outcome. Then imagine the daily and nightly horrors not caught on video and inflicted on a few million Eric Garners around the country in the confines of unaccountable judge-and-jury policing.

The chokehold incidentally was outlawed at the New York Police Department 20 years ago. But who cares. Cops have their own rules, and if push comes to choke, they have their own prosecutors watching their back. As with Eric Garner, they probably guessed that they’d get away with it. And they have. That’s justice in America, in post-racial black and white. Stop resisting.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here and follow him on twitter @pierretristam.

102 Responses for “Cops Get Away With Murder Because They Know They Can. It’s America In Black and White.”

  1. Michele Crosby says:

    i couldn’t agree more. It is beyond disgusting that we treat anyone as mere trash that can be thrown away. We are revolted by beheadings and other acts of violence that take place, but we don’t blink an eye when one of our own citizens is killed senselessly. Don’t get me wrong, I think our policemen have a very tough job, but all of us have to be held responsible for our actions.

  2. Nikia says:

    I think comparing this to Ferguson is not doing this case any justice. In Ferguson, there are too many facts that are questionable. In this case, experience could have de-escalated the situation. I think the even bigger tragedy here is that the paramedics did nothing when they arrived and they should be trained. The man is obviously in need by that time. Black or white – the police powertrip can be sickening in some cases. Generalizing is not fair to men and women that put their lives on the line everyday. It can be a thankless job. I’d hate to have it. Prosecutors absolutely should not be in the same jurisdiction in any of these cases. That law needs to change.

    • John Smallberries says:

      An even bigger tragedy is that a black man was choked to death by an officer while his backup watched, and the legal system in new york decided that no crime was committed. However, they did decide to indict the person filming the situation on a weapons charge based upon eyewitness accounts by the officers involved in the murder. Cleveland’s on the hook for a lot of brutality-related complaints, and they just recently executed a 12 year old boy for the crime of playing in a park with a bb gun while black, claiming that they asked him several times to drop the gun and he didn’t so they had no choice, and really “his father was arrested for domestic violence a few times in the past, so you know? Good shoot.” In reality, video shows cops just roll up and execute him on the spot. And there’s the police in ohio who executed a man for holding a bb gun in a walmart while talking on his cell phone (the grand jury decided to not indict).

      That’s why people generalize when talking about the police. The outcry to that is usually the “but there are only a few bad apples, it’s not fair to generalize” which is terrible because nothing is ever done about the bad apples. Bad apples do in fact spoil bushels if you don’t remove them, and bad cops do spoil departments if their partners and co-workers are too chickenshit or too ooh-rah to get over the thin blue line crap and do the right thing. And the sad thing is that the social environment within police departments encourages whistleblowers to be shunned or set up to get fired or killed during duty because their backup isn’t there.

      The entire system is rotten, from the top to the bottom, and there is a school of thought amongst some people that says to treat every interaction with a police officer as one in which you might be killed for no reason. This seems overly paranoid, but next time you have any interaction with an on-duty cop watch his or her dominant hand. It almost always sits on top of the holster.

      • barbie says:

        I no longer believe it’s just “a few bad apples”–if it were, why aren’t all those “good cops” speaking up about those persons who smear the reputations of all of them? Silence = Complicity.

    • JIM R. says:

      Police are not even on the list of 10 most dangerous jobs, truckers and roofers are, the danger cops face is highly exagerated.
      An incident in California where two bank robbers took three hostages and were pursued by cops firing their weapons resulted in them killing one hostage and the other two jumping from the speeding car rather than face the hail of bullets coming from police shows they were more interested in protecting the banks property than saving the hostages. This got very little coverage in the news.

    • w.ryan says:

      Nikia…The only difference between these two horrific acts perpetrated by police is that the is clear, undisputed video that tells the story of one victim. Reading the transcripts with an open mind will give a clear understanding. Fox and this testilying cop is a sham. He perjured himself over and over again. And Fox is worst.

  3. Edward says:

    This article is too much. Is the goal to start our very own riot?
    Blacks are 3/5 of the suspects in this country huh? How about this…what’s the percentage of blacks who call the police versus whites? The police are called by blacks to report black on black crime at ASTOUNDING ratios…but no one ever brings that up as a simple reason that they are arrested more. When whites call the police in their more affluent neighborhoods they are usually reporting an identity theft or a similar crime in which a suspect is hard to identify.

    I might also point out that conviction rates have a lot more to do with who has a paid lawyer and who has a public defender. This is a social thing. A black man with a top notch lawyer serves a lot less time than that of a white man with a public defender. Lawyers don’t care what skin color their clients are, the only color they care about is Green. So if blacks are, generally speaking poorer than whites, that’s why they serve longer sentences.

    It’s unfortunate that blacks are still poorer than other races in this county, we should all be equal. But it’s not the fault of the police.

    Do an article on that Pierre.

  4. anonymous says:

    Very disappointing Pierre. I won’t speak to the merits of the Garner case, because I’m not informed on the facts. However, you just managed to do what the rest of America has done for months now; you cast the same wide net on “the cops” that you accuse them of casting on “the blacks.” One bad cop must mean they’re all bad…..but that’s acceptable. Because after all, the cops are just angry white bullies that can’t wait to kill an innocent black man. I expected more unbiased reporting from you.

  5. Seminole Pride says:

    As a native Floridian. I don’t see why the media, or the Police Dept. of New York or Missouri have anything to do with where I was raised and how I see other races. This is not a Flagler issue. Most of us Floridians know the values that were taught to us. These are urban city issues that they have to figure out.

  6. Concerned says:

    Nikia, the lack of justice comes from the endless list of blacks who have been killed by police in the last decade, let alone any longer timeframe. We need to have an honest discussion about the racist nature of our country, and trying to nitpick does not help. How would you feel if you had to explain to your child or grandchild what to do in an attempt to stay alive while being black in America? Don’t wear a hoodie, no, no Skittles for you, keep your hands up, keep your hands out of your pockets even if it’s cold outside, look down, shuffle your feet and say yessir master… Really, this is what the black community is facing every day of their lives, and they’re losing. The least we owe them is an open, honest discussion. They can’t breathe!

    • Wolley Segap says:

      “endless list”? I guess the police should be checking their list of fatalities as well. Let’s remember Deputy Barbara Pill who was gunned down. There are many stories like hers.

    • Joy says:

      The situation you are referring to did not and never did involve police. The killer was a white/Hispanic man with a “wanna-be” complex. Why do you feel the police are at fault for that?

    • Nikia says:

      Dear Concerned, Zimmerman wasn’t a cop and he wasn’t white. An honest discussion of rascism in America doesn’t happen when both sides are pointing fingers at each other. You assume I have no black family so who is the rascist now?

  7. Seminole Pride says:

    As a native Florida I see this more of an New York or Missouri issue because of a disrespect for Police by blacks, and no human interaction between blacks and the Police. Our Flagler Sheriff Dept is great how they relate in a positive way with all races.

  8. Kit says:

    You sound uneducated. How about we send all of you civilians out on the street to deal with what cops deal with everyday and put you in the daily situations they face and see what you do. You wouldn’t last a day.

  9. The sheepdog says:

    As a law enforcement officer I am frustrated with the backlash against law enforcement. While I am not familiar with this case but I can say that the facts of the Ferguson case stand to show a racial divide in this country that had nothing to do with the incident but a lot to do with scars of the civil rights movement.

    The officer in that case never uttered a racial slur, never had a complaint of racial profiling or even a complaint of excessive force in his career. But he has been called a racist who could have cared less about a human being’s life because he was black. But that is because the media immediately said “white cop shoots unarmed black teenager.” They never said “white cop shoots man who out weighed him by 50 or more pounds, punched him in the face, and grabbed his gun after he robbed a cigar store.” Why is that? Why pick a few facts and stir the racial powder keg? The sad truth is that it sells papers.

    The fact is it is just as racist to call someone a racist simply because they are a white cop, as it is to stop some because they are black. The fact is that more black people kill each other at a rate 10 times greater than whites kill them. And cops not the rioters or looters investigate those case because they care.

    If you don’t believe that fact here is a link to the FBI statistics.

    The fact is that when you are in a life and death situation you don’t call Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton you call 911 and the police come and help you regardless of whether you are black or white.

    Are there racist cops? Yes. Are there bad cops? Yes. But to claim there is some sort of massive government conspiracy, as this article alleges, to somehow take black persons lives less seriously is incredibly irresponsible. To assume that all cops would look the other way, if one of their own killed someone based on their race is incredibly offensive.

    There is one thing I know that both these cases have in common and that is if the subject was not resisting the officer the officer would not react with force. The days of hosing peaceful protestors and sending dogs after them are long gone. I don’t know why so many people feel they are entitled to resist officers and then complain when they are met with force. Do you ever hear of cases of someone just walking along doing nothing at all and getting killed by police? No! it never happens and to imply that officers would be okay with that is ridiculous. How is it that people think that of the 42 million black persons in America that cops select one to be murdered from the whole lot and it just happens that he would resist arrest too?

    I hope the media and the public in general are prepared for the environment they are creating. Because they are encouraging people to resist law enforcement with violence. Look at the persons lashing out violently. Are those the people you want to call when you are in trouble? I doubt it.

    You want to know how I know cops are the good guys? Because despite being called violent racists, even if you hate me, spit on me, or even fight me, if you need help, I’m coming. Even if you just tried to kill me and lost the fight, I’ll render aid. Would you do the same for me? I do it because I am strong enough to endure your hatred and walk in the scariest situations you can imagine to help total strangers when they need it most, I am the sheepdog. You are the cowards and the racists.

    • John Smallberries says:

      “Are there racist cops? Yes. Are there bad cops? Yes. But to claim there is some sort of massive government conspiracy, as this article alleges, to somehow take black persons lives less seriously is incredibly irresponsible. To assume that all cops would look the other way, if one of their own killed someone based on their race is incredibly offensive.”

      Offensive but more often than not completely correct.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      ” While I am not familiar with this case…”? Sheepdog, you would have to be blind not to see the facts of the Garner case. Here, watch the damn video: Here are the obvious facts on display: Garner was not being questioned for selling “Loosies”, or single Cigs to poor people who can’t afford a whole pack for their nicotine addictions, but evidently broke up a fight at the site earlier. Maybe doing the job we pay Police to do embarrassed the cops, if such a thing is possible.
      He went down without any resistance when the cop snuck up behind him and threw the chokehold on him. By the way, this martial arts hold also cuts off the cardioid artery supplying blood to the brain. It was always banned from MA competitions until recently, when the MMA allowed the recipient to signal surrender by “Tapping Out”. Every competitor subjected to this “Kill Hold” instantly taps out when the arms locks on their throat, because even the best know the fight is over, surrender.
      Eric Gardner “tapped out”, but that wasn’t enough for the NYPD. They piled on with four large, raging and strangely muscular officers with their knees on his chest and stomach to further restrict his breathing. (Question: How is it we test our Baseball players for steroids but not the ones we give guns and special rights to?) And after about seven minutes of pitiful begging to breathe, he was dead, with the Paramedics in no hurry to try reviving him.

      Sheepdog, your name says all we need to know about your attitude towards your job as it pertains to us. We are the sheep, you are the herder for the boss. But a Sheepdog that kills it’s flock is called a wolf. So the first kill, the boss will give the dog a good smack on the nose. The second kill, the dog will get a bullet to it’s head, because sheep have value. And Eric Gardner had to die because he was fed up with being a sheep. As such, he had no value to the owners of this country alive. The fact you never see as much as a Bad Dog to a Cop who kills spells out where the power lies.

      But if you watch the comment sections here and elsewhere, you notice there is not the universal support for the Police there was even a year ago. Ferguson and Garner were so blatant the sheep are starting to look around:

      Dog, for the last thirty years or more, you and your Brothers in Blue have been cut out of the herd of Average American Citizens and brainwashed into believing it is an Us Against Them thing. Instead of always being a part of the community first and Cops second, they changed the laws to separate you from us. My Dad owned a bar when I was a kid. I remember the Police would come in after their shift to unwind with a beer or two and laugh with their neighbors the Bricklayers, Carpenters and Steelworkers, all in their work clothes. Hell, now they have declared you are not even allowed to live in the community you Police, because you might not be so willing to kill someone you know if ordered.

      Do you think it’s a coincidence that the Koch Oligarch Stooge Governor of Wisconsin terminated the pensions of all of the Gov’t employees in the State except for all factions of the Police? The State motto might as well be “Don’t offend who Us Defend”. They have convinced you that you are not part of the herd of Citizens. It wasn’t enough for you to be the leader of the flock, the Alpha Sheep, but a separate entity from those lowly animals, you are a Sheepdog! And the purpose of all of this is to condition you and your brothers that you are not one of us, you’re superior. Like a Wolf among sheep.

      One of these days and it won’t be long, the sheep are going to decide they have had enough of getting sheared by the International Bankers, Multi-National Corporations and Dual-Citizen State Security apparatus that they will try to reclaim their country and you and your Brothers will be ordered to kill your fellow American Citizens for this. Because they are Occupy, Tea Party, Anarchist, Militia, Hippy Socialist Terrorists or something.

      So will you do it Sheepdog? Will you be willing to stand with your fellow Americans who have had enough of watching the 001% of foreigners and multi-nationals asset strip our Country and steal our kids future or with your paymaster Bosses? Or by then will you have become so conditioned and militarized to the fact that if you are an Army, the only enemy you have is the rest of us? And think of how much kibble the Bosses give you!

      I’m rooting for you and your Brothers as well as the National Guard and the Second Division, which is the first Army group in history to be deployed to patrol American soil since the Civil War to come to your senses. But as a Veteran who bled to uphold his vows to protect the American Constitution, I must say I’m not too fucking hopeful. In fact I know I probably have a better chance of my foreskin growing back than you giving up your special status. After all, there is nothing wrong with living in a Police State if you are the Police.

      PS. “You want to know how I know cops are the good guys? Because despite being called violent racists, even if you hate me, spit on me, or even fight me, if you need help, I’m coming. Even if you just tried to kill me and lost the fight, I’ll render aid. Would you do the same for me? I do it because I am strong enough to endure your hatred and walk in the scariest situations you can imagine to help total strangers when they need it most, I am the sheepdog. You are the cowards and the racists.”

      Enough with the whining self pity and victimhood already! You say you will help someone after they spit on you when you and I both know it’s a felony punishable with five years in prison for even spitting on a cop today, and you would trow that on anybody who did it. And tthat’s what you consider Helping People. Whatever you are, you’re no Good Guy. You are just another Bully who mistakes Badges and Bullets for Balls.

      So don’t piss on our heads and tell us it’s raining. We’re all getting pretty tired of that.

    • barbie says:

      Then why aren’t more of you calling out the bad ones immediately? Why is there the idea that “Cops protect their own”? Why is there the idea that “cops threaten other cops if they are prepared to come out against something illegal they saw a cop doing?” What part of that did you miss all these years, Officer Sheepdog?

      What you’re pushing when you say “don’t resist the cops” is blind obedience. No. NO. JUST NO. If I get detained by a cop, I reserve the right to ask WHY I AM BEING DETAINED. I reserve the right to question what they’re doing and why–and if I am doing that in a respectable, level adult voice, that does NOT give them the right to call me a wh*re, a douch**ag and a troublemaker, and it does NOT give them the right to threaten me with a taser.

      I’m a middle-aged white woman.This happened to me at the hands of one of Volusia’s finest a couple years ago, and I was NOT DISOBEYING THEM, I WAS ASKING POLITELY WHY I WAS BEING DETAINED. So you need to back off somewhat from your apparent misunderstanding of what “resisting the cops” actually means. They have, obviously, a very BROAD definition, one that differs significantly from the rest of the damned population.

    • Edward says:

      I dont know who you are but this was beautiful and completely on point.

    • Nancy N says:

      ” The fact is that more black people kill each other at a rate 10 times greater than whites kill them.”

      Yeah, and most white people are killed by other white people. So we better start stopping and frisking all the white people to make sure they aren’t all armed and on their way to commit their next murder. Eyeroll. That statistic means nothing.

      The reality is that most people are killed by someone they know, and most people’s social circles aren’t that integrated in our faux post-racial society. Ergo – most people are killed by someone of the same race.

  10. MaryJo says:

    Pffffffffffft. Yep. Whites. It’s all the whites fault. Got it. No prejudice there. Nope.

  11. Sargent Thorn says:

    Gee…what’s going to happen when the next 17 million illegal aliens comes across the border and demand their rights because Obama said they are legal now ? Will there be a race riot between Blacks and Browns ? Will ONLY white cops shoot blacks and Black cops shoot Brown ? This country with its MIXED bag of colored people is in for one hell of a surprise .

  12. Linda L. says:

    Thank you, Pierre. Last night I finally sat down and watched the video in its entirety (as well as the second one in which Garner is down and unconscious and no one administers CPR or seems to care all that much) — and it was stomach-turning. Reading the accounts and hearing the pundits bluster is one thing, but watching Garner plead with the police just to let him be, and then having five of them jump this man simply for selling loose cigarettes — it was beyond comprehension. I’m glad you gave voice to all that I’ve been thinking and feeling. I can’t even feel outrage; instead, I feel numb from the shock of seeing how and why this man died. Senseless, so senseless.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Didnt know this website owner was there anf on grand jury….otherwise this article is pure speculation

  14. HonkeyDude says:

    It is so easy to sit back and jue something that takes place in mere seconds. When a officer generally has only split seconds to make a decision at times.
    I believe that america is full of a lot of scared ball less wonders that are to chicken sh*t to do the job of wearing a bAdge. And they think whining about it makes america a better place.
    If you want a safer kinder less judging country I challenge you to find one. Truth be known that if you go to another country and act up they will bury you literally or in jail.
    America is weak and full of weak minded people who think that they deserve something in life. The only thing that any of us deserve is air. The rest of life we must earn.
    With that said…. how many out there has even had the cahonies to do a ride along with a officer? Say on a busy weekend night? New years in Bunnell Daytona, etc,.. a busy 1st of the month weekend or holiday? Who has actually been there when everything’s unfolding? Not just reading or watching clips of it taken at the end of a investigation by a I phone.
    Grow up America. Get some balls. Quit whining, complaining, and Monday night quarterbacking.

  15. Jim O says:

    You call this journalism? Wow, you sound like Al Sharpton. Keep up the good work and I am sure Obama will invite you to the White House.
    Disappointed in you big time.

    • Robert L. says:

      I agree with JimO…you call this journalism? It is just the author’s opinion, nothing more. Disappointed in the author, no, I never considered this author anyone important.

  16. Ben says:

    All you have to do, bigot or not, is to watch the video of Eric Garner being choked to death.
    Make believe it’s a white guy being choked by a little prick with something to prove.
    Watch how Officer Pantaleon never loosens his choke hold after the big fellow is on the sidewalk.
    Watch how the other blue goons just watch as Mr. Garner’s life slips away.
    Watch the video. It’s A HOMICIDE. Even the EMS workers who showed up didn’t give a crap.
    A guy sells loose cigarettes shouldn’t have to die at the hands of the fuzz.

    Police fan boys and girls: stop your whining. Tractor trailer drivers have the most dangerous profession in America. Police personnel come in at number 8.

    I treat cops with respect, because I don’t want to be shot or have my life ruined. (or is that fear?)


    • NortonSmitty says:

      If you take auto accidents out of the equation, Police are listed equal to office workers in workplace deaths. Way under Roofers, Plumbers, Electricians and all of the other trades. In fact there are close to 100 garbage men who die saying “‘mon back!” as police annually.

      If you remember the Officer who was hit by the car at the I95/SR100 exit a few years ago, God rest his Soul. The story was all about the Thine Blue Line and shutting down I95 with a five mile long procession of Police cars from all over the country in his honor. Near the end of the article it said that this was the first Officer to die on the Job in Flagler County since I believe it was 1927.
      How many Roofers died since then? I don’t know, because there will never be anything but a small line in the Obituary column for those who Kneel and Nail. Who put their lives on the line and their ass on a ladder for us every day. Why don’t they count just as much? No propaganda value, that’s why.

  17. ken says:


    According to the US Department of Justice, blacks accounted for 52.5% of homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008, with whites 45.3% and Native Americans and Asians 2.2%. The offending rate for blacks was almost 8 times higher than whites, and the victim rate 6 times higher. Most murders were intraracial, with 84% of white homicide victims murdered by whites, and 93% of black victims murdered by blacks.

    It is possible that some whites are uneasy around blacks because they are racist. It is also possible the uneasiness reflects that blacks are almost 8 times more likely to commit homicide than whites.

    • w.ryan says:

      Ken…When ever the issue of cop violence against blacks come to play the first response is “Black on Black” crime the numbers are almost equivalent to “White on White” crime. Yours is such a childish response! It’s like if I said you are stepping on my feet then your response is Johnny is stepping on Billy’s feet. Come on man!!!

      • w.ryan says:

        I read your tag and jumped at it. But still we must look at the Socioeconomic factors as to the violence. We have the prison industrial complex training for recidivists that learn and carry on their crimes because of despair. Lack of hope in a system that steamroll over people of color! Find solutions instead of slinging back
        acusations in this manner would be helpful.

  18. Joy says:

    How dare you?? You, who have the power of having your opinions in print, spread such venom. You are part of the problem, not the solution. Please take your pity party elsewhere; if you cannot report the news showing both views, then retire.

  19. Buddy Negron says:

    You’re a ignorant racist who is doing nothing but fanning the flames of racism. You don’t respect cops, the system, and sympathize with criminals who use do,or as an excuse and you allow it and help spread their message. Shame on you!

  20. JtFlagler says:

    Maybe the issue is more one of a poor justice system, one that is weak in punishment and lack of fear of the enforcement. The countries that have the least crime are those that simply don’t tolerate it. They don’t have the bleeding heart liberals crying about the severity of the sentences doled out. Steal a tomato, lose a hand. Armed robbery, go to jail with hard labor. Kill somebody, public hanging right after sentencing. No death row and life sentences Our justice system provides more rights to the criminals than the victims. Criminals have no fear. The victims and the police do. Put the fear of harsh consequences into the equation. Give the police MORE power to enforce. Give the courts MORE power to severely sentence. Just a thought, maybe if M. Brown knew someone who had his hand chopped off for stealing, he wouldn’t have robbed the store. Maybe if Garner was punished for his prior crimes more severely, he’d be alive today. Sorry but I’m old school. You don’t touch the stove burner after you’ve done it once.

  21. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    The article raises some valid points, but the overall thesis is lost because the author goes a bridge too far. Equating the Ferguson, Travon Martin, and the Eric Garner tragedies as essentially the same, just different locations does Mr. Garner a tremendous disservice. The facts are no where near the same, but when we try to lump them all together,credibility is lost.

    The author’s point appears to be that Cops have become inherently racist. I would argue, they have not, they’ve become inherently assholes. There is a huge difference. They’ve become assholes to everyone in the public, not just minorities. They’ve completely forgotten that their power to police comes from our consent, not the other way around. The Us versus Them mantra is absolutely prevailing among Cops today, be it locally or in NYC and appears to be encouraged. Protect and Serve has given way to “I have the badge, I get to bark out orders, and you get to comply instantly, or you’re getting teased and arrested for “resisting arrest”, even though there was scarcely justification for an arrest in the first place. We, collectively, need to take back our rights and reel in these cops.

    And please, spare me the BS propaganda that I’m sure will come, “we put our lives on the line blah blah blah…”… Yes, being a cop can be dangerous. So can being a welder, an oil rig worker, and a high rise window washer,. And I would argue many cops make it a hellovalot more dangerous than it needs to be with their Us vrs them mentality.

    • brian says:

      you really should be writing for rolling stone magazine. you would fit right in there . you are clueless.

    • Wolley Segap says:

      You’re partly right. Its a trickle down effect. Look at any department’s leaders and you’ll know where the style of policing comes from. Locally, I see some miserable cops. That speaks volumes about the departments leadership. This county used to be a friendly place with a mutual respect between law enforcement and citizens. Now we have much secrecy, lawsuits, fraudulent use of credit cards and ethics violations. The leadership is very poor and our deputies have been forced to become robots. The cameras they wear has to have changed things dramaticallyas well. Maybe that’s where they’re seen more as assholes now because in an instance when a person would normally get a break from a cop, they no longer do because the camera is rolling and disgression will be questioned. One thing I am sure to keep in mind is that our law enforcement officers and their families live among us. How many streets I drive down and see a patrol car in a driveway. They have a vested interest in our community just like the rest of us. I certainly do appreciate them.

    • John Smallberries says:

      I don’t think Pierre is entirely off base here by equating Martin, Brown, and Garner, since they all involve situations where unarmed people were killed by armed ones. Garner’s is definitely more egregious because there’s clear footage of him being murdered by law enforcement, but Brown and Martin both represent situations in which lethal force could have easily been skipped in favor of nonlethal options or just choosing to not engage in the situation physically to begin with.

      As for the asshole statement, I think you might have a pretty good point. The problem is that the supreme court has consistently backed law enforcement and expanded their rights through decisions like Tennessee v. Garner (the “I feel threatened, shoot to kill” case) and Warren v. District of Columbia (the “I don’t need to serve and protect you” case). Toss in some free but you-need-to-maintain military surplus, selectively choose people with low IQs for police work (see cases like Jordan v. New London) and then add in a little us versus them mentality and you have exactly the kind of policing you see done today. Things won’t change any time soon either, since police unions and benevolent associations hold a lot of lobbying power, and prosecutors, which generally enjoy complete immunity from prosecution for crimes committed related to trying cases, have no incentive whatsoever to care about anything other than their conviction count and it’s law enforcement than brings them in.

      The sad thing is I just don’t see a solution other than to trash the entire system and rebuild from the ground up. Nonviolent protests aren’t going to do anything to change the system, and I’m afraid it might take a few more Kent States or Chris Dorners to force change from a federal level.

    • sw says:

      No accountability or ramifications for their actions. Blame it on some one else

  22. bri says:

    obey lawful orders from the police and you will not be harmed, it is pretty simple..UNDERSTAND!!!

    • w.ryan says:

      What is a lawful order? Are these words in the constitution? Justification of police action seems to come to mind. What also comes to mind is the catch all phrase of fearing for my life or his hands was going to his waist area causing me to fear for my life though his shorts was failing off his ass showing his boxer underwear that couldn’t support the weight of a weapon. Just because a cop gives an order doesn’t make it lawful. It’s that simple…UNDERSTAND!!!


    Very, very, very disappointed in FlaglerLive and you, Pierre! I just deleted Flagler Live from my favorites !

  24. The Real Bunnell Resident says:

    I have been stopped by police for traffic violations a few times in my life. I pulled over immediately, was courteous to the police officer including saying yes sir and no sir. I always kept my hands in plain view and did nothing to give the police officer any reason to escalate a situation. Both in Ferguson and New York these men would be alive today if they followed this advice. Pierre does a great disservice to say Mr. garner was “reasoning with a cop.” When you are stopped by a police officer “reasoning” will only lead to escalation of the situation into justifiable use of force. The moment Mr. garner used his arm to push the officer aside he placed himself in a use of force situation by resisting. He also did not die of asphyxiation. This was proven by the autopsy report. There have been many black on white killings by police officer that never made the news, I wonder Pierre how many articles you wrote about blacks attacking innocent whites with “the knockout game?” Did you write a single piece about the Bosnian man who was murdered by bludgeoning with a hammer by three black teens in St Louis? As someone once said, I don’t always disagree with a grand jury decision, but when I do, I don’t burn my town down. Why not write an article about Mr. brown’s criminal history. This young man was no gentle giant. Officer Wilson was prosecuted in the court of public opinion in spite of the physical evidence that corroborated his story. If he were guilty he would have fried, pure and simple. By the way, Brown’s criminal history was extensive and violent. Check it out for yourself. This in no way justifies killing him but any hand to hand fight with a police officer is a life or death situation for the police officer and would nearly always end up being ruled a justifiable homicide. Maybe you should turn your excellent writing skills into writing a how to guide for dealing with a police officer. Regardless if a person feels the officer is justified in initiating contact with them, the person has an obligation to comply with the officer’s demands. Show me one case of anyone foully cooperating with law enforcement who was ever mistreated physically or unlawfully killed. Going back to Mr. Brown, had Officer Wilson stopped him he could have been courteous, produced an ID, let the officer conduct his investigation, and he would have been on his way home or maybe arrested if indeed there was probable cause for arrest. Regardless, his actions got him killed. Now, people everywhere are fanning the flames of racism while ignoring the fact that thousands of people get stopped by police every day of all races without being killed.

  25. Concerned says:

    Sheepdog, you go a long way in proving the case against copdom; the chief of Ferguson in his own statement admitted that Wilson knew nothing about the cigarillo video – thereby proving Wilson lied to the grand jury; in the unedited version of the cigarillo video it shows Brown paying for the smokes and receiving change back; there is video available taken a year before Brown’s murder of Wilson harassing a black citizen on his own porch. I could go on, but I don’t think it would do any more to convince you that you’re talking out your ass. Oh, and by the way, I too was a peacekeeper but gave it up because of the attitudes of most cops – attitudes just like yours… HAND UP, DONT SHOOT. WE CANT BREATHE. Oh, and by the way, I’m a white woman.

  26. Sherry Epley says:

    Excellent article Pierre. . . and right on!

    I would also agree with those who also see this as a bigger issue of our Police, nationwide, moving away from their goals of “protect and serve” our citizens. . . towards the arrogance of something similar to military “CONTROL” of occupied territories! It seems all connected to me. . . all tragic symptoms of our current judgemental,divisive “US versus THEM” culture:

    1. Rich vs Poor
    2. White vs People of Color
    3. English Speaking vs Any Other Accent or Language
    4. Christian vs Any Other Spirituality or Way of Being
    5. Heterosexual vs Any Other Sexuality
    6. Citizens Whose Ancestors Immigrated Prior to 1950 vs Those Who Came After

    The list goes on and on. . . and our fearful hate filled society is freely arming itself to the teeth! No one seems to get it that we are in an internal arms race, fueled by the media and the NRA! Our ginned up police departments feel that they are forced to arm themselves with more and more powerful weapons, just to keep one step ahead of the angry/mentally ill civilians. After all, the gun manufacturers that support the NRA supply the police too.

    From many perspectives our culture is slowly becoming a more violent society! One thing really does lead to another and another. How terrible that the “beat that is going on” is such a negative one! Connect the dots and follow the money, if you want to see what is really going on in the USA.

    Why don’t we call our country the United States of America anymore? Because it is NOT!

  27. w.ryan says:

    Thank you Pierre for writing this article. You hit the nail on the head! Unfortunately this thread is starting that tinted rose lens thing again. They are so removed from the harassment and active racism that they cannot see. It is great to see once again that the White, Black, Asian and Hispanic people who don’t deny the truth are out there supporting this movement for change. It’s so easy to say submit to the law when the law is responsible for killing you on their terms. Three fifth a citizen is how we are still treated and the whites who cannot see a disparity will eventually see that the fight for justice will come down on them one day in this new police state and economic reality. Police Commish Bratton stated that the constitution doesn’t give anyone the right to resist arrest but it does give us the right to ask why and the state has the obligation to explain. In the NYPD Academy the understanding is that the moment you announce to anyone, as the agent for the state, that they are under arrest, the citizen must immediately surrender himself. Under these terms we would not have a United States of America. I contend that this notion of supremacy is at the root of Police mentality. Why should black people give credence to any notion that the police are on their side? I’m mortified that these Native Floridians talk so positive about Law Enforcement in light of all the strange fruit that hung from these southern magnolia trees down south. To say that blacks should support and trust law enforcement is too myopic by them and they should read history, not watch Fox and Friends or talk to their racist neighbors to get a jest of this situation. Emmit Til and countless other INNOCENT Black life’s has been taken in the guise of the Law and persons perpetrating Law enforcement Officers.

  28. barbie says:

    Credibility is not lost with this reporting. America has a serious problem with her police forces, in big cities and small, and it’s time to stop making so many damned excuses and FIX IT.

    I can think of no better place to start than with “good cops” speaking out. And when you do that, you need to talk about your own department’s internal processes for dealing with bad cops and give some examples. It’s not about lecturing civilians to shut up and obey, and that’ll solve the problems. I am living proof that’s a damned lie. This is not about obedience, it’s about ROGUE POLICE.

  29. Pastor S Jones says:

    To all who say race has nothing to do with anything. Here are some things you can look up. RED/DMC, Racial and Ethnic Disparities / Disproportionate Minority Contact. See how many youth of color are unequal treated in the juvenile justice system. Since 9/11 6,600 US soldiers and citizens have perished in wars in Irag and Afghanistan combined. Well over 5,000 US civilians have been killed by non-military US law enforcement officers during the same period. Then look at 98.8 percent of all officer involved shootings in the United States are deemed Justified. I hope you can see better now why Black people feel the way they do. My own wife hears that I could be killed because i speak up about injustices. It mite happen here in Flagler County, but could happen on I-95 or in some other State , County or City. Just because i am Black, then what would the people of Flagler say. I did something wrong, I didn’t listen. Maybe I did something to cause my own death. This is the fear that all Black People think of every time they leave the house, will i come home to my family. I wish Blessing to you all.

  30. Tyron Smith says:

    Reading all these comments I see two things…..racism and radicalism on BOTH ends of the “I’m right, your wrong” equation . Thank god for the 2nd Amendment. I will protect my family from both ” plain clothes and uniformed radicals. Badge or no badge, I don’t freaking care anymore. You threaten my life, I’m taking you out . Locked & Loaded !!!!!!!

  31. Its Sad says:

    It is really sad. We’re approaching Christmas; a time of good cheer and hope. But what are we doing? Allowing ourselves to be caught up in a turmoil that is tearing us apart. I believe our President is orchestrating this as a step in remaking our Country.
    Crime occurs every second of every day in our cities that involves all combinations of black, white and various ethnic types; and there are bad cops, but it and they are but a very small segment of our total population. The vast majority of us are law-biding, and need and support our police. Our President and a few close followers have taken two local and tragic events and elevated them into a national blood-letting. And here we are in beautiful Palm Coast helping it happen.

    • Outsider says:

      My sentiments exactly. We are all being pit against each other by the guy who was going to be the first post racial president. This is all part of his divide and conquer plan, attempting to stoke the country into a war against itself so he can move in and restore order….his order. Let’s forget about the skin color and judge the folks by the contents of their characters. If your character is not one that beats people up or attacks cops then it is unrealistic to think the police are going to sneak up behind you and shoot you. If you do break the law, particularly if you do it on a regular basis and fight with the cops you are increasing your odds of things not going your way. We are all humans and make mistakes at our jobs; some have jobs who’s consequences are more dire than others who choose less dangerous careers. Garner shouldn’t have died, but he shouldn’t have picked a fight with five cops either, who couldn’t be expected to know his health issues. They should have rendered aid after it was apparent he was having difficulty breathing, but then again, lots of suspects claim they can’t breathe or are hurt in an effort to get released from cuffs or avoid jail. In a nutshell, don’t break the law and do t fight with cops and you should be just fine.

  32. Stone says:

    How about we take a compassionate look at this topic?
    There is a reason the article mentions the wealth gap in relation to this problem. For too long this country has decided that the fix for poverty and destitution is a good ruffing up. Why did the victim feel the need to do something illegal to make extra money? If one takes a broader view of this and looks at Afghanistan, just about the poorest country on the planet, you’ll see that American forces have a presence there as well. The pattern of brutality shows the application of ‘teaching them a lesson’. The foreign and domestic policy reflect the same sort of ideology. Yes, blacks kill blacks and it’s the same reason Afghanis kill Afghanis. Desperation. They only know what they are born into and the solution clearly doesn’t lie in violence.

    There is evidence all over that shows poverty increases anxiety and bad stress. My own conclusion so far is that everyone needs some more mental health education. Obviously a keyed up officer and suspect is not going to end well.

  33. karma says:

    Chicago Police reported 369 killings through the first 11 months of this year. Where’s the outrage? They say Black Life’s Matter. Or is only when a white cop kills them?

  34. Sherry Epley says:

    Excellent article Pierre. . . and right on!

    I would also agree with those who also see this as a bigger issue of our Police, nationwide, moving away from their goals of “protect and serve” our citizens. . . towards the arrogance of something similar to military “CONTROL” of occupied territories! It seems all connected to me. . . all tragic symptoms of our current judgemental,divisive “US versus THEM” culture:

    1. Rich vs Poor
    2. White vs People of Color
    3. English Speaking vs Any Other Accent or Language
    4. Christian vs Any Other Spirituality or Way of Being
    5. Heterosexual vs Any Other Sexuality
    6. Citizens Whose Ancestors Immigrated Prior to 1950 vs Those Who Came After

    The list goes on and on. . . and our fearful hate filled society is freely arming itself to the teeth! No one seems to get it that we are in an internal arms race, fueled by the media and the NRA! Our ginned up police departments feel that they are forced to arm themselves with more and more powerful weapons, just to keep one step ahead of the angry/mentally ill civilians. After all, the gun manufacturers that support the NRA supply the police too.

    From many perspectives our culture is slowly becoming a more violent society! One thing really does lead to another and another. How terrible for each of us that the “beat that is going on” is such a negative one! Connect the dots and follow the money, if you want to see what is really going on in the USA.
    Why don’t we call our country the “UNITED” States of America anymore? Because sadly and tragically it is NOT!

  35. snapperhead says:

    Just my opinion but media in this country is far more racist than our LEO’s. Are whites or hispanics never killed wrongly by police? Never hear about those incidents. When’s the last time a missing black or hispanic girl has gotten media coverage like Jon Benet Ramsey, Chandra Levy, Natalee Holloway, Caylee Anthony, Elizabeth Smart, etc etc?

  36. Derrick R. says:

    Wow report on perception instead of facts. This Article is a joke . You are not choking if your talking . Let’s put aside Gardner’s 31 prior arrests, lets not put aside the fact that the officers did not wake that day and say lets kill us a morbese black man. But were directed to the location by a high ranking black chief in response to murchant complaints regarding business loss at the hands of Mr. Gardner. Let’s also point out that on the scene was a non- Caucasian female supervising officer who directed that Mr. Gardner be arrested. Let’s point to his health or lack of it . You may not like the law but the law is simple you have no right to resit arrest. You do have a right to face your accusor and evidence in a court of law. Further, far more Caucasians succumbed to police actions than non-Caucasians. Fact plain and simple & in a overwhelming number of the politically charged cases of race interactions with law enforcement they all had one thing in common the ones taking dirt naps refused to comply with the instructions of law enforcent, for had they they’d be alive. Stop the race bating .

    • barbie says:

      How uniformed. Try gasping for air sometime and try to talk. Ever get food stuck in your throat? I have. I ran over to my husband and managed to squeak the words “I’m choking, help” out and he pulled a Heimlich on me.

      Thank goodness I was able to do that, since my husband only has about 10% vision, total. He didn’t see me choking, I promise you.

    • Ben says:

      Oh, he choked from “talking?”

  37. The Real Bunnell Resident says:

    There is never a protest when a black police officer kills anyone regardless of the race of the person killed. If Darren Wilson were black, what would Al Sharpton have to complain about? How about we just make a law that only black police officers can arrest black people? Isn’t that what you are all asking for? Two America’s? Is that what you really want?

  38. John F. Pollinger says:

    Pierre, in your attempt to expose bigotry at the hands of police, you actually exposed much of your own. Sadly for me, you lost a lot of my respect for your writings on this one.

    • John Smallberries says:

      Thanks for posting this John, I was looking to campaign for a sheriff during the next election cycle and your decision to attack Pierre on this instead of offering real insight from someone in the law enforcement community shows that you just aren’t the one.

    • Sheila Zinkerman says:

      Thank you for asking about the protests. There is a peaceful protest concerning unarmed killings of citizens scheduled for this Saturday, December 13 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the corner of Belle Terre PKWY and Palm Coast PKWY (near the library.) Please spread the word and join us in solidarity.

      Protest will be cancelled and rescheduled do to inclement weather.

  39. Jon Hardison says:

    We’re as predictable as oil and water.
    We march, lockstep, through the inevitable stages…
    First denial, defending fistfuls of long held ideals and beating them to our chests, a desperate protest, like apes before a fight. We hope, against all odds, that this will instill just enough fear, maybe grant us a few more moments of relative peace.

    And so Black points to Blue, and Blue to Black, while the rest pick side or frantically comb through the Internet’s misinformation machine for answers to questions that probably don’t matter.

    As a “suspect”, of course I’m upset about Garner and Brown and Martin and the hundreds of thousands of injustices committed against people in this country, but if I’m to be honest, there are far bigger questions we need to be asking. The incessant picking at our most recent wounds is like taking aspirin for a brain tumor. It may provide a little relief, but in the end the tumor still wins. So with that in mind I’m going to go ahead and ignore much of the commentary above and go straight to the meat of the matter.

    We have two groups of people who, for the most part, have remained unchanged in their views for the better part of the last 50 years. Just to save time and breath we’ll call them conservatives and the extreme baby eating left. These are our “oil and water”, so predictable in their distain for one another that even their good ideas are shot down immediately upon being uttered. Conservatives have long sited the 2nd Amendment as one of their favorites, and have chanted that this people’s power is our last line of defense against a Government gone rogue. And to that point, Liberals have always replied, “guns kill and idiots shouldn’t have them.”, and, “The government isn’t out to get anyone.”

    But while we sit here under the misguided impression that this mass violation of our civil liberties is limited to a deserving few, arguing that no price is to high when it comes to public safety and order, we inadvertently render those liberties null and void. I’m not saying that this isn’t about race because today it is. Today this is about Black and Brown. But what rights remain when I’ve finally learned my place? What rights remain when my sons’ sons know to never speak until spoken to, and that their water fountain is out in the back by the garbage bins, and no white man or woman need fear us because the threat has been systematically averted?

    My point is simply this:
    We are all right. The militarization of the Police places machines are war at our doorsteps and trains our friends and neighbors to use them against us. All of us. Our rights have already been deemed less important than the safety, or sometimes just egos, of the Officers sworn to protect them. The ends thoroughly justify the means in the eyes of all those NOT impacted by the state of our union. All that which the left insisted would never happen and all that which the right insisted was inevitable has happened. We are a people under siege, in nearly every county in every state in our Union “Trickle-Down” has taken on an entirely new meaning. One that should be scaring all of us witless, but it isn’t.

    The only reason it’s not bothering us is because it’s only a Black thing. We’re just “putting down animals”, as some of my use-to-be-friends have said, while others have gone so far as to imply that a more cost effective solution to our problems would simply be to drop “watermelon and KFC”.

    The Constitution. The Bill of Rights. We all speak of these documents as great gifts given to a great people by great men. It’s a fallacy.
    The truth is that these documents encapsulate the basest qualities of American existence, handed down to a broken, starved, war-torn people by leaders who had seen, with their own eyes, the true nature of man and sought to empower a people of conscience and freedom by burdening them the greatest responsibility in the history of the civilized world.

    So in truth, the color or beliefs or sexual orientation or criminal history or social standing or citizenship status of the persons’ involved are irrelevant. No soldier has ever stood on a foreign beach and said, “We fight for America but only the White ones.”, as none has never taken their last breath in defense of their Asian Americans, or Cuban Americans or any such silliness. We have fought and died protecting our burden, our responsibility to those ideals and in so doing, our uniquely American way of life.

    So while I’m hurt, scared, worried and disappointed about the racial components of recent events, I choose to reserve my outrage for those things I find far more troubling:
    The violation of all people’s rights and protections is no less offensive to me than spitting in the face of all those that sacrificed to protect them.
    The defense of anyone violating those rights, particularly when it involved systematic abuses by City, County, State or Federal Representatives. And it becomes more troublesome when these rights are talked about as a liability or obstacle to Officers or their safely. This is America. These rights are not optional and without them, and strict adherence to all other laws, Officers run the risk of being seen as little more than racketeers or hired guns for a political system that bears more resemblance to a crime family than a government at this point.

    It’s time for left and right to realize that something is going on and party particulars are the problem, not the solution.

    The most successful wars are the ones you never even have to fight. Some Walton or Koch Brother is saying this right now. Are we really going to give this up without a fight? WHO THE HELL ARE WE? Cuz I don’t recognize us anymore.

    On another note – To all Officers of the Law, both currently serving or retired: You have my respect both as people and as individuals who chose to serve the greater good. For that I thank you. But it is time to call “the brotherhood” into question once more. You are only as good as the men and women standing next to you. You make a million choices a day and we know that the job you do for us is not an easy one, but know this. The choice to look away is no choice at all. The choice to say nothing is no choice at all. The choice to be complicit is no choice at all. As much as you need the public’s respect and understanding to do your job, the public has a desperate need to trust and respect you (particularly Black and Brown). To trust in you, absolutely.
    Every jackass you work with that exerts their will instead of extending their hand is undermining you and the profession. Every power hungry punk that tests their way past the academy endangers lives. So please, for you and all of us, call it when you see it, because you have our respect. Don’t let a few bad eggs muck that up. If you do you forfeit your right to bitch about it.

    Special thanx to ‘Sons of Anarchy’ for making race conversations so much easier. :-P

    • sw says:

      Good points. We should start with The PREZ on most of them,

    • Ray Thorne says:

      I would just like to add a thought in reference to your last paragraph. Whenever we see a law enforcement officer in the news for doing someing stupid, it is their fellow officers who’ve investigated, charged and ultimately arrested the “bad apple”.

      • NortonSmitty says:

        Wow, I must have missed all those stories about the self-policing police! Is it in the section of the newspaper with the unicorn sightings, Leprechaun gold giveaways and Sasquatch visiting the Childrens Hospital?

  40. Michael says:

    As a trooper when you arrest 90% blacks along the turnpike you are racially profiling them, wrong; you pull over 100 vehicles and 10 have drugs. Just so happens that nine of the ten arrests the subjects are black, the problem is the other 90 cars were let go with a traffic citation or warning, so there is no record of arrest on the other 90 cars. Now the media cannot wait to hype this up and call it profiling, why, because the media needs the hype to keep readers reading their stuff. When a violant call comes in do you think the officer asks what color they are, if you do you are a bigger racist then the ones you are trying to pin it on. The guy in NY had 31 priors, did you see that number? 31 priors, so please do not make him out to be some poor vitim of circumstance. He had a long tainted history with the police, should he have died, no, of coarse not. Should he have complied with officer commands, yes, and probably would be alive today.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      That is basically what he was complaining about, the 31 priors, and he had enough to say there wouldn’t be a 32nd. Now obviously most if not all of the 31 were some sort of chickenshit misdemeanor like selling single cigarettes out of an open pack. I know this is the case, because if not the Law and Order Brigade would have told us “The man was a Convicted Felon, fer Crissakes!” instead of squawking “31 Priors! 31 Priors!” like Judge Pirros’ parrot every chance they get.

    • w.ryan says:

      31 priors? Can you tell us what these priors was for? This “Conditions Unit” seem to have been busy in the 123. So he’s not worth anything because be was detained and issued summonses for selling lucy’s! What a way to value human life! The sale of single cigarettes are done in most bodegas on a regular basis. Are they harassed as well?

  41. sw says:

    The rift is wider because Racists like you dont get it. Sure these are tragic but lets not let the facts get in the way of a good ” Woe is me” story. You cant compare Trayvon/Brown to the Garner case. Period. Apples to Oranges! Should Police be held accountable for Garner? Absolutely. The Cherry Picking of certain cases to exploit your cause sickens me. WE dont buy it..

  42. Informed Citizen says:

    Mr. Tristam:

    I have found your opinion piece to be appalling both in its obvious failure to objectively examine the facts of the relevant cases and your apparent lack of comprehension of the workings of the American legal system. I believe the four cases in which you analyze are tragic; each for different reasons, however, your implication that black “victims” do not receive fair treatment by the criminal justice system is debunked by the fact that every year countless defendants are successfully prosecuted for violent crimes perpetrated against black victims (an alarming number of which are perpetrated by black offenders).

    I find it necessary to provide a brief overview of the proper functions of the American criminal justice system. First, I noted you state that the prosecutors were “supposed to get an indictment from the grand jury.” Thankfully this statement is incorrect because if it were true it would result in the unjust convictions of thousands of defendants. Instead the prosecutor’s job is to examine the evidence and testimony recovered by an impartial investigation conducted by law enforcement and present same to the grand jury allowing it to determine a just finding of probable cause. This is true whether or not the evidence is favorable to an indictment. Secondly, it is apparent that you feel the criminal justice system is to be swayed by opinion and sensationalism, this too is incorrect as the system must be blind to these elements instead relying solely on evidence and testimony. Thirdly, the law in all 50 states permits the justifiable killing of a human being in certain situations. It is preposterous to believe that a person does not have the right to defend themselves against the actions of a thug. Lastly, I noted that you make reference to Mr. Garner’s likely guilt in the matter of selling untaxed cigarettes, a crime in the state of New York, which permits the arrest of a person upon a finding of probable cause. Being that the laws of this country govern me, I will presume Mr. Garner to have been innocent.

    The four cases in which you have mentioned in this opinion piece have very few similarities, none of which are relevant to their respective outcomes. In the case of Jordan Davis, he was murdered by a private citizen in what amounts to a senseless street crime no different than thousands of others that tragically take place across America every year. I am able to use the term “murder” because a jury has determined Mr. Davis’s death was in fact a result of the criminal act of murder. In the case of Mr. Martin, the defendant was subjected to what many legal experts categorize as an overzealous prosecution, which still resulted in a jury reaching a verdict of not guilty.

    As it pertains to Mr. Brown I would submit that it was Officer Wilson who was the true victim. The testimony (including that of numerous black witnesses) and forensic evidence clearly indicates Mr. Brown was nothing more than a person who unfortunately lost his life while engaged in the commission of numerous crimes (i.e. robbery, battery on a law enforcement officer, burglary, and assault on a law enforcement officer). Mr. Brown had many opportunities to prevent his untimely death to include not attacking a police officer. It certainly cannot be your contention that it was not Officer Wilson’s duty to apprehend a robbery suspect. It is also not reasonable to state that Officer Wilson should not have pursued Mr. Brown after the initial confrontation inside the police vehicle. Officer Wilson had a duty to protect public safety and after a suspect has demonstrated a willingness to violently attack a law enforcement officer it can be reasonably assumed that he is willing to perpetrate a crime against any other member of the public. Mr. Brown’s conduct is relevant to the determination of the grand jury and there is an inherent risk associated with criminal activity.

    The case involving Mr. Garner is much more troubling than the aforementioned cases. While the tactics employed and the judgment displayed by the police officers may be flawed, it appears that the arrest of Mr. Garner was in fact lawful. It also appears that Mr. Garner resisted the officers’ lawful attempts to affect an arrest. Your caption “Eric Garner never had a chance” is interesting in that he did have a chance: a chance not to resist arrest later allowing him an opportunity to seek relief through the criminal courts, the civil courts, and the New York City Police Department citizen complaint process if he was as you suggest a victim of police harassment. After careful examination of the evidence and testimony, while discounting opinion and sensationalism, the grand jury properly found that the poor tactics and judgment resulting in the homicide of Eric Garner did not rise to the level of a criminal act and is more appropriately adjudicated through discipline administered by the New York City Police Department and judicial relief.

    The same laws that allow you to slander law enforcement officers as “goons” and make assertions not grounded in fact disguised as journalism protect those same law enforcement officers with a presumption of innocence while still providing those whom they serve with lawful methods of redress. If you feel that the enforcing laws pertaining to the selling of untaxed cigarettes, the inhalation of marijuana in public, and apparently even robbery is not worthy of wasting policing effort then I suggest you lobby the appropriate legislative bodies for a change in the law. Until such time I suspect that American law enforcement will continue to dedicate resources to the enforcement of these and other laws. As a matter of curiosity, what evidence can you present indicating Mr. Garner was a victim of repeated police harassment and not just a common criminal subjecting himself to enforcement action?

    • John Smallberries says:

      “After careful examination of the evidence and testimony, while discounting opinion and sensationalism, the grand jury properly found that the poor tactics and judgment resulting in the homicide of Eric Garner did not rise to the level of a criminal act and is more appropriately adjudicated through discipline administered by the New York City Police Department and judicial relief.”

      Translation: next time you murder someone, make sure that you don’t get caught on camera doing it. It’s really embarrassing to us, so here’s a week of paid leave. *fistbump*

  43. barbie says:

    Speak for yourself, SW. The only ones not “buying this” are the ones in denial about race relations in this country.

    The racism in these comments is sickening. The police are exploiting their power, and all some of you can do is attack the messenger and cast aspersions over non-white citizens. Disgusting.

  44. I think it would behoove some people here to go to twitter and glance, if only for a few minutes at #AliveWhileBlack and #CrimingWhileWhite hashtags’ streams, side by side. Anecdotal or not, that’s the reality that people live with every day. I find it mind-boggling that so many commenters here are not only unable but unwilling to see the world through any perspective outside of that of their own experiences, unwillingness to even acknowledge a different reality as it’s lived by someone else. Strange and disappointing.

  45. Concerned says:

    It seems to me we will never be able to truly have this conversation about racism until the police themselves become outraged at some of their fellow officers behaviors, including their colleagues in the various DA’s offices, etc. Until they speak their truth to the power they are swallowed up in just to make a living they will always be perceived by the people as against us. They don’t have to become one of the them against us, or do they? How do they explain that to their children? Their children watch the news, they know. They are all just average citizens like the rest of us. What happens when something goes wrong and the militarization of the police ensnares them or their loved ones in its net? Their outrage would be too little too late at that point, just like it is for people of color or the wrong religion now. Only a few weeks ago we were having an eerily similar conversation about would-be elected officials directing such hate at Pierre. Now commenters are, but for a wholly different prejudice. Why? Why the hate people? If you are so sure you are not a racist then why the hateful rhetoric? Why can you not have an honest discussion about our societ? Why can we not as a group strive to make it better? Why?

  46. DWR says:

    In the past few weeks, we have seen the criminal justice system at work around the country in a way that has made headlines. It has polarized the country and renewed a feeling in many people that there is a different set of rules for different Races. Many African American’s and “progressives” have said that there is no justice for African Americans and have marched (sometimes peacefully, others in a violent, destructive way) for equal justice. While our Democratic system always welcomes debate, we should examine the facts of a case and not react on emotion.
    In Ferguson, MO, the prevailing theory was that Michael Brown was shot while he had his hands up surrendering to Officer Wilson. This theory was not only discarded by witnesses (African American witnesses), it was discarded by forensic evidence. No matter how many people continue the chant “Hands Up-Don’t Shoot”, or how many elected officials or celebrities continue to use this “Hands Up” gesture, it just did not happen. Continued repeating of a lie will not make it the truth!
    Let’s examine all the facts of this case:
    Mr Brown had just committed a robbery (the stealing of property, no matter what the value of the property, combined with the use of force to obtain or retain that property constitutes a robbery, a serious, violent felony).
    Mr Brown knew he had committed a robbery when he was confronted by Officer Wilson.
    Officer Wilson knew about the robbery and observed property similar to the stolen property in Mr Brown’s hands and requested other units to respond.
    Mr Brown reached inside of Officer Wilson’s marked Police Vehicle and struggled for Officer Wilson’s firearm (proven by forensic evidence). The attempt to take Officer Wilson’s firearm constitutes an Attempted Robbery.
    Mr Brown, at almost 100 lbs. heavier than Officer Wilson, punched Officer Wilson in the face. The assault on a Police Officer is another felony.
    After the initial struggle in the police vehicle, Mr Brown charged at Officer Wilson (also corroborated by independent witnesses).
    Police Officers are not trained to “Shoot to kill”; they are trained to shoot until the threat is over.
    This case was presented to a Grand Jury in the county of occurrence. This Grand Jury was comprised of citizens who live and work in the same county as Michael Brown and Officer Wilson. The Grand Jury heard all of the evidence; saw all the forensics, listened to sworn testimony of everyone from witnesses who were present at the scene to medical and forensic experts. They concluded that there was no probable cause to believe that Officer Wilson did anything wrong in his encounter with Mr Brown.
    While every death is a tragedy for the victims’ family and friends’, Mr Brown’s actions that day (committing a robbery, assaulting a uniformed Police Officer, attempting to disarm that Police Officer, continuing his attempts to assault a Police Officer) directly lead to his death.

    In the Staten Island case, a career criminal, Eric Garner suffered a heart attack after he resisted arrest. In the now famous video, Mr Garner can be heard numerous times stating that he “can’t breathe”. Again, let’s examine the facts of this case.
    Mr Garner, who was known to the Police Officers in the 120 Pct, was not the non-violent person he has been made out to be. He was a career criminal with over 30 arrests, including possession of a firearm, drug sales to undercover Police Officers, and domestic violence assaults. Mr Garner had previously been arrested for the crime of sale of untaxed cigarettes. This offense, while not a major crime, is still, nonetheless, a violation of a local NY City law. The Police enforce this law at the behest of the community and local business that pay for a license to sell tobacco products and also pay the tax on those products that are set by the city and state.
    The arresting officers told Mr Garner that he was being arrested and attempted to talk him into compliance. Mr Garner, rather than submit to this arrest, chose to tell the officers that he would not be arrested. There are many avenues of relief if you believe that you have been unlawfully arrested (Civilian Complaint Review Board, the Internal Affairs Bureau, Civil Rights organizations, etc.), resisting arrest is NOT an option.
    Mr Garner was not placed in a “Choke” hold (remember also, a “choke hold” is NOT illegal under the New York State Penal Law). He was placed in a head lock and taken to the ground after he swatted at one police officer attempting to grab his arm to place him into custody. While on the ground, Mr Garner still refused to place his hands around his back. As soon as the Police Officers gain control and handcuff him, no further force is used. During the struggle, Mr Garner can be heard on the video telling the officers he cannot breathe. The fact that he was speaking shows that he was able to breathe. While he was cuffed on the ground, another video shows that the officers are attending to Mr Garner and had requested an ambulance to respond.
    Much has been made of the fact that the Police Officers did not administer first aid or CPR to Mr Garner. The fact is that Mr Garner was breathing and that CPR should not be administered to a breathing patient. Medical professionals were called by the Police Officers at the scene.
    Mr Garner suffered cardiac arrest in the ambulance and died from a heart attack at the hospital. Mr Garner suffered no damage to his windpipe or esophagus. Mr Garner’s hydroid bone was not broken. Mr Garner suffered no petechial hemorrhage (all symptoms of a chocking death).
    The struggle during the arrest may very well have triggered Mr Garner’s heart attack. However, Mr Garner was morbidly obese, suffered from acute asthma and other related health issues. In spite of his numerous health issues, Mr Garner chose to continue in his illegal behavior. Being arrested for any offense, especially a minor offense that Mr Garner allegedly committed should never be a death sentence; however, Mr Garner made the conscious choice to resist a lawful arrest. If Mr Garner had submitted to his arrest and placed his hands behind his back, he would have been removed to the stationhouse, been processed for his arrest, and most probably released at arraignment.
    This case was also presented to a Grand Jury, composed of residents of Richmond County (where both Mr Garner and the involved Police Officer reside). Those Grand Jurors heard all of the evidence, including all video’s recorded that day. They heard all of the medical testimony and all forensic testimony. The Grand Jurors heard the sworn testimony of all of witnesses. This Grand Jury decided that no probable cause to believe that a crime was committed by the Police Officers. Remember, the term “Homicide” is a medical term, not a legal term.

    Many people are fond of saying that if the DA wants, he can “indict a ham sandwich”. Is that the way our Criminal Justice system is to work? Indict someone for political expedience knowing full well that you cannot obtain a conviction. The Grand Jurors in both of these cases heard EVERY piece of evidence, both supportive of the Police Officers and damaging to the Officers. Those jurors carefully sifted through the evidence and came to their conclusions. In both cases, the Police Officers testified, as is the right of every subject of a criminal Grand Jury proceeding. In Missouri, those proceedings are being made public, in New York; the Grand Jury proceedings are sealed. The people protesting these outcomes were not in those proceedings, and did not hear all of the sworn testimony and evidence.
    Police work is an often dangerous job (there are statistics that show a police officer dies in the line of duty every 53 hours, in some instances, an unarmed suspect disarms a Police Officer and shoots him/her with their own firearm). Sometimes, Police work is not pretty. Arresting a resisting perpetrator is not for the faint of heart. It is violent, often times a life and death struggle. The New York City Police Department makes over 300,000 arrests per year. The fact that Mr Garner died during his arrest is an anomaly, it is not the norm (although some people would have you believe that this happens every day).
    Another chant of the “progressive” movement is that “Black Lives Matter”. Again, the progressives seek divineness, to me, “all lives matter”. Nowhere is this more evident in the work that the NYPD does every day. In the last 21 years, murders are down more than 83%!! Even if you attribute that number to better emergency room and medical treatment, consider that shooting incidents are down over 78%, and shooting victims (multiple victims in one incident) are down over 76%. The fact that close to 90% of all murder and shooting victims are “people of color” (another progressive term), they, (people of color) are the main beneficiaries of all of the NYPD’s hard work. In fact, the 120 Pct, (which, according to the 2010 census has a 60% minority population) where this incident occurred, has seen a 61% decrease in murders and a 77 and 78% decrease in shooting incidents and shooting victims. Too be fair, not all of the crime reduction can be directly attributed to the police department, however, their role can also not be minimized. If “Black Lives Matter”, then why was there no marching or disruption of traffic when Det Rodney Andrews and Det James Nemorin were executed while conducting an undercover gun purchase? Where were the citywide and nationwide marches when Samyah Bailey, a 1 year old girl was shot in the face, while sitting in her stroller, losing an eye? Both of these incidents occurred in the 120th Precinct. I have a guess to the reason why. Those incidents do not meet the progressive’s agenda. There is nothing to gain when African Americans are victimized by other African Americans.
    Police Officers are sworn to “serve and protect”. In the overwhelming majority of times, this is the case. Police Officers are drawn from our society. Of course, there are some that betray their oath. However, I believe that the vast majority of officers come to work every day with the best of intentions, place themselves in harms way and only want to return to their families when their tour of duty is complete. Unfortunately, this is not the case for over 100 Police Officers every year, not counting the thousands of times a year Officers are injured in the line of duty, some with life altering injuries. It is very true that Police Officers are “The Thin Blue Line” between civility and anarchy.
    This country was founded on the principle that the government works for the people, not the other way around. Debate and dissent are necessary and welcome. However, when Elected Officials and celebrities take up a cause, they have a duty and a responsibility to tell the whole truth and not to fan the flames that perpetuate false claims and half-truths. That is irresponsible!! If the people are dissatisfied with the Grand Jury system, they should petition their elected officials to change the system, (much like the way Marijuana laws are being changed throughout the county). If the community wants to decriminalize the sale of loose or untaxed cigarettes, again, they should petition their government. The ballot box is the way to change the system, not wearing T-Shirts, burning down your community or blocking traffic for citizens who only wish to go about their business.
    In conclusion, these 2 situations would have turned out in a dramatic different fashion had Mr Brown and Mr Garner not made the very deliberate decisions they made those days.

  47. loyce allen says:

    Excellent article Pierre! Thank you for keeping it 100% for those who are still wearing blinders! all I can say is Amen, Amen, Amen! Please this Saturday come out for our Peaceful Protest Black Lives Matter Rally. 12/13/14 from 11 to 1 on Palm Coast Pkwy and Belle Terre. Come an take a stand for Justice and Equality for All! Hope to see you there!!! Thx again Pierre. The truth is the light and the light must shine!!!

  48. Wow says:

    All those cases are related because each victim was a person of color, unarmed, and was killed by armed, white officers. In no way is that justifiable. Do a little research. If you look at every other country in the world, citizens killed by police are not even remotely close to the numbers found here in good ol’ U S of A (ha). And for those of you who don’t know what actually happened and are pulling facts out your asses, I suggest something other than what CNN or local news tells you. social media sources. Would you trust an author and/or editor(s) of an article, these so-called “facts” from this weird game of telephone so many of you seem (enjoy) to partake in, or social media sources directly from people who are there, experiencing it all? While some of you make very valid points and know the facts, and are not blind, overall, I am extremely disappointed in the attitudes of most commenters on here, why should one life matter more than the other? We all are human, are we not ..?
    Also what about Tamir Rice? Is his death in the right too?

  49. This says it all about Michael Brown. Remember his mother says he was a good boy.

  50. Since 1987 says:

    Gil Collar, search it. Bet you never heard of this white teenager, unarmed, shot by police.

  51. Since 1987 says:

    Well said Informed Citizen! You repeated what I have said on other posts, get the legislators to change the laws if you don’t like the Police enforcing them!

  52. nomad says:

    I wonder when the cops will go after Jameis Winston and all those privileged black JOCKS who commit worser crimes over and over and over and over….. This is not about race, this is about class. But the race card makes for great distraction from the real issue of class status. Interestingly, the very same day the NY verdict was handed down, a grand jury in racist South Carolina handed down a guilty verdict to a white police officer accused of killing a black man. Funny how it didn’t make the BIG news, but I guess that’s to be expected from the loud mouth liberals press blabbering on and screaming about racism and all their other manufactured outrage while continuing to stick it to the poor who are still down and out and barely surviving.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      This conversation is being steered by both media “Teams”, left and right, in a way that is purposely designed to divide us. Black from White, cops from their neighbors, Rich from poor and Democrats from Idiots. Looks like it’s working well.

  53. carol bennett says:

    Well said Pierre

  54. NortonSmitty says:

    Well this is interesting!

    Too late, but interesting.

  55. confidential says:

    We have very good cops and also a group of very bad cops. Just the result of the very fabric of our country. The basic of our society which is our families environment is were this issues start. Is in our families setting were our kids learn to hate or not minorities and I would really hope many families specially parents will come to terms to stop that hate and see us all and each other as the same human beings with the same rights and deserved respect in our land no matter origin, race or religion.
    I raised my kids to value their peers for character, honesty and law abiding, not by color and they are happy and helpful community members liked by most!

  56. Kaci Lipthrott says:

    A few vaild circumstances where that was the case, or close doesn’t deem every single police officer as a crook. The number of police officers who do their job correctly far outweighs the few bad police officers. They get paid shit to have their lives up at stakes every day they put that badge on. They don’t wake up and think, “today I’m going to discriminate”, “today I’m going to kill an African American”.

  57. Eric Hill says:

    Since when does your past record deem you worthy of the death sentence for a minor infraction. And why do people always ask for both sides of a story if it appears anywhere other than Fox News.

  58. Nanochic says:

    To the person who mentioned immigrants, and how they are going to socially affect us, please remember that white people are the original immigrants. Europeans weren’t even wanted in the first place, but we don’t want immigrants coming here.

    And to those of you who are saying that we are only looking at the bad cops and not the good ones, if there are only a few bad cops, the good ones would surely stand up against them and out number them, but they don’t. It’s like a middle school bully; when the bully’s sidekick who doesn’t beat you up and may even feel sorry for you won’t help you, he’s still not a good guy. Bystanders are not the good people. Same thing with the cops. Most of them are watching these cops get away with crime, but they aren’t doing anything.

    And to the guy who said they live in Florida so they don’t care, if you were being robbed or stabbed or raped and called for help, wouldn’t you want someone to help you? But in this instance, since it’s less personal, you’d rather be selfish.

  59. Anonymous says:

    I am a BLACK AMERICAN and I don’t like the way my people are treated in this country. We are not the only minorities in this country and yet we’re the only ones singled out. On top of the fact that our neighborhoods were also singled out and had cocaine, and guns and crack were put into our neighborhoods. We didn’t put them here, so let’s stop the lying and the cover ups. On top of that the American government also sends jobs over seas so then us Blacks become the jobs it’s called slavery, it’s called the prison system. Let’s not forget Black people fought for this country too. America helps all kinds of foreigners for example Cubans come here and get free housing, medical, loans and other freebies an so do other foreigners. My peoples blood is in this American soil, from slavery to the civil rights movement until now. On top of that the Indians, the Jews and the Japanese were given reperations, where is our forty acres and a mule. It’s a shame when people have to hold their feet on other peoples neck to make it. Leave Black people alone, I think that white people are too concerned about Black people when you need to mind your own business and leave us alone. I am not talking about all white people, I am talking about the ones that have secret meetings and plan for the demise of human beings that are Black and proud.

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