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Article 35 of the NYS Penal Law covers the Justification of the use of force and Deadly Physical Force. There is a subsection that covers law enforcement officers. There is also the NYS public officers law which attends to the duties and responsibility's of law enforcement officers.
One of the local TV stations here, WNBC news just announced that the DA did not present a reckless endangerment charge. It would be interesting to know what charges were presented. In any event, it would have been a tough case to present to a Staten Island Petit Jury and win.
The bar to indict is so low, P/C or reason to believe, that had the DA in Staten Island, NY went for an indictment he most likely would have gotten it. However, Staten Island is a bedroom community for many city and state workers including NYPD and FDNY and so the jury pool is much more friendly to the officers. Had this occurred in the Bronx, these officers would have been indicted .
I believe that Judge Andrew Napolitano's, retired New Jersey Superior Court Judge and Fox News contributor and Andrew C. McCarthy III, former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, assessment is correct in both the law as well as his assessment that had the Staten Island DA wanted an indictment it would have occurred. I believe that this is about overly aggressive officers who acted recklessly and were negligent in their encounter with the deceased. The officers knew or should have known that the deceased was in distress as a result of their actions which included a choke hold and compression of the chest and continued their actions which untimely resulted in the death of Mr. Garner. The fact that the victim said many times that he was having difficulty breathing and that one officer had him in a choke hold which is something that is readily capably of causing death or serious physically injury and other officers were compressing his neck and chest by both the actions of the police officers as well as Garner shows recklessness and negligence. The medical examiners report concluded that Garner died from heart failure resulting from asphyxiation and his neck showed bruising consistent with neck compression (choke hold), a physical restraint banned by the NYPD since 1992. One can blame the deceased by pointing to his poor physical condition and health and there is truth to that but had the officers and Mr. Garner never met that day, he would still be alive so the only conclusion I can come to is that the officers actions contributed to his death. All law enforcement officers are trained in the use of force as well as in the use of deadly force. We are also trained in the concept of the force continuum in which force can be both escalated as well as de escalated. We have a responsibility to use the minimum force to accomplish our task and do so in a way that is not reckless and negligent. I have friends and former coworkers who disagree with my assessment and I have friends and coworkers who agree. In this circumstance I respect the views of both. Lately, I have spent the major portion of my life working as a law enforcement officer. I was a certified weapons instructor, DPF instructor since 1978 and a defensive tactics instructor since 1983 until I retired in 2005. I also studied a form of Karate called Shotokan.
When the Democratic party was in the majority in the House and Pelosi was speaker, she appointed a special joint committee on climate change and of course there were more Democrats than Republicans on the committee.
Dylan Ratigan, go cry me a river.
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