It is difficult to watch the video of the July 17 arrest of 43-year-old Eric Garner without being stunned and horrified.
Several New York City police officers attempted to take Garner into custody on a charge of selling cigarettes illegally. He resisted slightly. One officer appears to have place him in a chokehold. Others piled on him and forced him to the sidewalk.
Garner can be heard in the video, pleading, “I can’t breathe.” He died of suffocation, probably not solely because of the chokehold.
A grand jury’s rejection of charges against police officers involved led to large-scale protests.
Many local law enforcement agencies make it a point to train officers and deputies in arrest techniques that do not endanger suspects unnecessarily. Chokeholds are banned by many departments.
Garner’s tragic — and needless — death should be viewed by local law enforcement officials and personnel as a mandate to review and renew safe arrest training in our area. Showing video of the New York tragedy, which no one wanted to happen, might be a good start.