The city of New York has paid $5.9 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Eric Garner, the unarmed black man who was choked to death by New York police on Staten Island and whose dying words, “I can’t breathe,” became an iconic symbol of police brutality. But no cops have been charged and the city hasn’t formally accepted responsibility. Isn’t it absurd to pay for a death for which you refuse to acknowledge responsibility?

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  • Right on Ted! It’s the same across much of the USA in every way, and the common “Citizen” doesn’t have a clue, and of course, I’m preaching to the choir here. Our elected ofishals and their representatives will probably never be held accountable for their actions, past and present, and meanwhile, thousands of people languish away in US prisons, and our USA keeps terrorizing the world in a vain effort to control everything to keep the profits rolling in for a select few, while the majority of Americans are focused on “issues” that are so microscopic in view of the big picture, that it seems hopeless.

  • Impunity is the name of the game, Ted, both at the national and at the municipal level – but still, I’m glad to see Mr Garner’s family awarded that sum. Unlike in cases where firms like Goldman Sachs accept fines from regulators while denying any wrong-doing, I suspect that even the more enthusiastic members of «law enforcement» (much enforcement, little law) might possibly get the hint, when cash-strapped city managers and mayors tell the fuzz to chill out. Imagine if the late Saint Ronald’s government had actually been forced to pay the fines levied by the International Court of Justice in the case of the Republic of Nicaragua vs the United States of America (§§ 14 and 15 of the judgment – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicaragua_v._United_States) ; that might just possibly have had a dampening effect on the future activities of the offending state….


    • Unfortunately, it’s SOP. Any time a company settles out of court, the papers always read something to the effect of “we don’t admit wrongdoing, but we’ll pay up anyway.”

      Our problem is twofold. One the one hand, cops are civil servants so the pay is mediocre: that means that the only people who sign up are those for whom the possibility of violence is a perquisite.

      The other hand is the lack of accountability. Even in the unlikely event that a cop is actually convicted, judges are reluctant to send them to jail. There may be people in there who don’t like cops (surprise!) and so the cop could get hurt! Yeah, cry me a river conservative.

      I see a twofold solution. Obviously: fix the pay issue and get higher quality recruits. The other OBVIOUS solution is to hold cops accountable. Any cop committing a crime while in uniform should be subject to 3X the civilian penalty.

      When was the last time you saw a cop doing the speed limit? If ten over is a $100 ticket for me – it should be $300 for him, and NOT paid by the city, it should come out of his pocket.

      • @ CrazyH –

        “Even in the unlikely event that a cop is actually convicted, judges are reluctant to send them to jail. There may be people in there who don’t like cops (surprise!) and so the cop could get hurt!”
        That is exactly why criminal cops SHOULD BE sent to prison. If they knew that they would be subjected to the retribution of the prison population, they just MIGHT think twice before they committed their crimes!

      • But you see, mein verehrter Lehrer, the cop class is there to protect the judge class (and other similar classes) from the lower classes, which is why a judge is rather unlikely to sentence a cop to jail – or to any penalty whatsoever – for crimes committed against members of those lower classes. For the same reason, prosecutors are loath to bring charges in similar cases. Combine this fact with the racial discrepancies obtaining with regard to the composition of these classes, and it’s not difficult to see why so few cops end up doing time….

        (Black judges who are harder on black offenders than on white could be proposed as a counter-example to my comment on racial discrepancies above, but the mechanisms that produce such anomalies are not hard to understand….)


  • Exactly Henri – People and organizations have to be held accountable. Unless we force this accountability in some way, they will continue to occasionally pay penalties for “whatever happened, gosh darn, I don’t now, but heck, anyway, whatever…” The Democracy has timed out – it timed out a long time ago, along with responsibility for actions and common decency.

  • But doesn’t money make it all better? Isn’t that the American solution? (Besides the other solution: DoD…)

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