Police Unions Go on Offensive After Eric Garner's Death

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The city's two largest police unions are firing back at critics of the New York Police Department, who have grown louder and more numerous since the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner July 17, and the subsequent ruling by the city's medical examiner that Garner's death was caused by a policeman's use of a chokehold while he was being arrested. 

"You know we've heard a lot in the last number of weeks about what police officers can't do and what police officers shouldn't do," Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, said at a news conference. "No one's telling us what we are able to do and what we should do when we're faced with a situation where the person placed under arrest says,'I'm not going.'"

The PBA has maintained that while Garner's death was a tragedy, it could have been avoided if he had complied with officers who arrested him for allegedly selling illegal cigarettes. 

Lynch was joined by members of a fellow police union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, during a press conference on Tuesday. Both unions accused the Rev. Al Sharpton of politicizing the case. Sharpton has been pushing for a federal investigation into Garner's death. 

"He shouldn't have the right to sit at the lead table at City Hall and stir up the streets to where it becomes dangerous for police officers," Lynch said, referring to Sharpton's meeting with Mayor Bill de Blasio on July 31

In response, Sharpton said in a statement that his National Action Network is a credible organization that President Obama has addressed in the past. He said he would continue to call for a federal investigation for a fair and impartial look at the facts. 

Lynch also admonished the city medical examiner for characterizing Garner's cause of death as a "chokehold," which he said is not a medical term, and vowed to have medical examiners reassess the autopsy when it is finally released. 

A representative from the medical examiner's office said the report was based on a scientific investigation.


Matthew Schuerman


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Comments [4]

jc from Mars

Police Union has the largest collection of assholes in the US.

Oct. 11 2014 10:33 PM
Anne from NYC

My condolences to the family and friends of Eric Garner as I agree dying for selling cigarettes sounds awfully cruel, but we weren't there, aren't the jury, and the guy who took the video is a drug involved criminal and perhaps there's more to it as to the concerns of the Police/responders for their own safety.I was taught to respect an Police(wo)man's authority with "Yes sir, No Sir", follow their directions, and take any issue up with the precinct or politician afterwards. How come the guy taking the video didn't call 911 instead of or before filming? And why was he "allegedly" selling cigarettes while the Police are definitely guilty?
My concern is about all the attacks on and belittling of the police and how it will effect their ability to do their jobs. The Police are just like people and they are being labeled as a group - don't people speak out about racists for labeling groups on the behavior of some. Should the Police just bow and say ok when their authority is disrespected? Should they be shot first and then answer questions?
At a talk given by Al Sharpton many years ago, he explained the truth of the Tawana Brawley incident as not important because he is an activist and his job is to get his issues covered by the press. No wonder he doesn't speak out against present day slavery of trafficked girls and women in the US or crimes against immigrants regarding pay? Where's his outrage there or at the people committing the violence in crime ridden and violent neighborhoods?
Where is all the community outrage against the criminals who shoot babies and young children as collateral damage, and beat and rob the elderly for a few dollars? Why don't their families get picketed and publicly admonished? Where are these people being put in check by their community? Why aren't they being turned in to the Police or as would happen in some other communities getting beaten for their behavior? Safe neighborhoods depend on the support of community members who stick together against crime. In my safe neighborhood if a thief is found in a house or in the process of hurting someone, the neighbors deal with him first, while the Police are on the way.
If we don't respect and stand up for the great job the majority of our Police do every day, who will rule the streets? Criminals!

Aug. 06 2014 05:35 PM
Jimbo from Brooklyn

Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, said at a news conference: "No one's telling us what we are able to do and what we should do when we're faced with a situation where the person placed under arrest says,'I'm not going.'" you KILLED the guy, because he "said, 'I'm not going?'" Patrick Lynch, that is some seriously weak sh*t.

Aug. 06 2014 10:14 AM
Billy from Brooklyn from Husdon Valley

The public's adverse reaction is largely due to the NYPD's not providing CPR, and their apparant lack on empathy. They all stood around without considering removing the handcuffs so Garner might be better able to breathe, and made no efort whatsoever to recissitate him.

That is what is most disturbing about the video. Not the initial arrest, but the apathy when another human being was in physical distress.

The police unions do not seem to understand this.

Aug. 06 2014 09:59 AM

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