Eric Garner – The Punishment Should Fit the Crime

Some of you reading might think I finally drank my husband’s Kool-Aid, have turned against police departments all over the world, and am rising up in defense of the “innocent” against the “man”.

I haven’t.

I still believe most police officers are the good guys.  I think the majority still believe in a badge that stands for protection, service, and the courage it takes to fulfill those promises made to society.  I’m not even 100% convinced that Officer Daniel Pantaleo is one of the bad guys.  But he did a bad thing.  And he should be punished.

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As of this minute, Officer Pantaleo has been relieved of his badge and his gun while he awaits the outcome of an investigation.  Four emergency medical service team members who responded on the scene are also on modified duty.  Why?  Because maybe even worse than the prohibited choke hold used on Eric Garner was the lack of appropriate treatment for his blatantly obvious medical distress.  Eric Garner lay unresponsive, with no obvious signs of life, and not a soul started CPR.  He remained handcuffed, motionless, and at one point, his eyes fall open and he is not even offered the dignity of a blanket.  No medical services whatsoever are performed on the scene.

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Whether they determine the choke hold is what killed this 43 year old husband, father, and son or not, Officer Pantaleo’s use of that choke hold should be punished.  It lead to the death of Eric Garner.  Those EMS workers and the other police officers who stood around, failing to attend to the medical needs of Mr. Garner, should be punished.

I know, Eric Garner was not standing there with clean hands.  But did he deserve to die for whatever his minor crimes may have been?  He did not.

My heart breaks for Eric Garner.  For his family.  For the community, where he was well known and liked.

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And for all of us.   ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

The actions taken against Eric Garner are taken against each one of us.  And it’s time that each one of us – regardless of race – acts back.

The badge you wear as a police officer is not a shield to protect you from being punished for the things you do wrong.  Things were done wrong to Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD.  Let this be what finally causes the punishment to truly fit the crime.  You are not immune because you wear a uniform.  Let’s hope the investigation comes to the same conclusion.

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