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Ferguson in NY as Cop Acquitted after Killing Unarmed Man

A grand jury will bring no charges against a white New York City cop who strangled an unarmed African-American man to death. Watch him die in the video.

Daniel Pantaelo, the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner with a chokehold on Staten Island on July 17, will not face charges for the killing, a grand jury decided today. You can hear Garner, who was asthmatic, plead with police about his inability to breathe several times during the struggle that led to his death. Watch him die in the video.

The grand jury did not bring charges against Officer Pantaelo despite the fact that the NYPD’s own patrol guide explicitly prohibits the chokehold used to kill Garner.

The grand jury did not bring charges against Officer Pantaleo despite Garner’s death being ruled a homicide by the New York City medical examiner in August.

The cause of Garner’s death was “compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police,” the medical examiner’s office said.

Eric Garner was a 43-year-old father of six. Police said they approached Garner because he was selling unlicensed cigarettes — better known as loosies — and that he resisted arrest.

In preparation for the Garner decision today, the NYPD sent detectives to Ferguson during recent demonstrations to gather intelligence on so-called professional protesters. In New York, cops will be looking for outside agitators and vowed to arrest demonstrators interfering with traffic. There will be a heavy presence of cops on foot, in the air and on horseback throughout the city.

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We are left at this point only to wonder under what circumstances a cop may actually be indicted after killing someone on the street. In the Garner case, there is no doubt that he was unarmed. He did raise his hands. He did not endanger the police, and they had no clear reason to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone around them. There is no question about the events that unfolded, as the entire scene was filmed at close range. The police office who did the killing used a chokehold, a technique specifically outlawed by the NYPD. The medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide.

This is not Michael Brown. There are no conflicting witnesses, no ambiguous testimony, no need to decide who to believe. Believe your eyes.

If under such conditions a grand jury comes to the conclusion that no crime was committed, it is hard to imagine what conditions could cause a grand jury to conclude a crime was committed.

No amount of police body cameras, or blue ribbon panels, or meetings or additional training will help. This is just a slaughter and the people who can stop it won’t. Watch him die in the video.

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Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren

Peter Van Buren has served with the Foreign Service for over 23 years. He received a Meritorious Honor Award for assistance to Americans following the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, a Superior Honor Award for helping an American rape victim in Japan, and another award for work in the tsunami relief efforts in Thailand. Previous assignments include Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK and Hong Kong. He volunteered for Iraq service and was assigned to ePRT duty 2009-10. His tour extended past the withdrawal of the last combat troops.

Van Buren worked extensively with the military while overseeing evacuation planning in Japan and Korea. This experience included multiple field exercises, plus civil-military work in Seoul, Tokyo, Hawaii, and Sydney with allies from the UK, Australia, and elsewhere. The Marine Corps selected Van Buren to travel to Camp Lejeune in 2006 to participate in a field exercise that included simulated Iraqi conditions. Van Buren spent a year on the Hill in the Department of State’s Congressional Liaison Office.

Van Buren speaks Japanese, Chinese Mandarin, and some Korean (the book’s all in English, don’t worry). Born in New York City, he lives in Virginia with his spouse, two daughters, and a docile Rottweiler.

Though this is his first book, Peter’s commentary has been featured on TomDispatch, Salon, Huffington Post, The Nation, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others.

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