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Randy Sutton

Randy Sutton

Randy Sutton is a 33-year law enforcement veteran, a trainer, and the national spokesman for The American Council on Public Safety. He served 10 years with the Princeton (N.J.) Police Department and 23 years with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, retiring at the rank of lieutenant. He is an author who has published multiple books on law enforcement.
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Patrol

Dunphy: Eric Garner Sealed His Own Fate

Despite what people think, reasonable force was used in the Garner arrest.

December 23, 2014  |  by Jack Dunphy

The Garner incident. (Photo: From Video Published by New York Daily News)
The Garner incident. (Photo: From Video Published by New York Daily News)

Gentle readers, repeat after me: “Eric Garner was not choked to death.  Eric Garner was not choked to death.  Eric Garner was not choked to death.”  You may now count yourselves among that small but distinguished minority of Americans who know this to be true.

As I’ve followed the aftermath of Mr. Garner’s death, I’ve been struck by the ignorance displayed by so many ordinarily sensible people offering commentary on the matter.  I use the term “ignorance” not as an insult but rather in the benign sense that they are simply uninformed on the facts of the case.  Charles Krauthammer, for example, called the Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the NYPD officer implicated in Garner’s death as “totally inexplicable.” George Will took things a qualified adjective further when he labeled the decision as “inexplicable and probably inexcusable.”  And Berkeley law professor and former U.S. deputy attorney general John Yoo, discussing the incident on a recent Ricochet podcast (relevant portion at about 57:00), revealed himself as no more informed on the issue than the two columnists.  “Looking at the video of what happened,” said Mr. Yoo, “I don’t see any reason why force was required there.  With the guy selling loose cigarettes, I don’t see the need to use deadly force to restrain him.”

I have nothing but admiration for Dr. Krauthammer and Messrs. Will and Yoo, but I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb here in speculating that none of these men, for all their accomplishments, has ever had the experience of trying to arrest a 350-lb. man who has made it clear he does not wish to be arrested.  I have, and I offer here a few lessons gleaned from that experience.

I joined the Los Angeles Police Department at a time when officers routinely applied chokeholds to combative suspects.  Properly performed, a chokehold was an efficient, and when compared to techniques that replaced it, humane way to end a physical altercation.  The guy got froggy (as the expression went), he got choked out, and he woke up in handcuffs, most often none the worse for wear and with his attitude much improved.

Read Complete Article at PJ Media


Comments (14)

Displaying 1 - 14 of 14

krisnlc @ 12/23/2014 3:13 PM

What about a tazer?

kevCopAz @ 12/23/2014 3:37 PM

Every time these "expert news media" want to mouth off, they should hold a demonstration and have THEM try and subdue a 350 lb person without using such "brute force". Perhaps once they get their own ass kicked and tossed around like a rag doll they may have a different opinion.

Terry Zech @ 12/23/2014 3:39 PM

A taser would have done nothing more then make Mr. Garner more angry with his body weight in might've slowed him down but it would not have taken him down I wish he had not died but he did not leave the officers any choice and if you look at the tape the hold was released once he was on the ground.

Tommy @ 12/23/2014 3:44 PM

Does it look like they have a Taser? What about a baton or other impact weapon? Its on the same level for response to resistance. Would that have been better for the video and the idiots of the world? Has anyone even mentioned that when Garner says "I cant breath" that the officer who used the takedown techniques hands were both on Garners head?

Wolf @ 12/23/2014 5:18 PM

A taser is possible if the officers were issued tasers, but there are three things to consider when using a taser. 1. Departmental policy on its use, 2. The weight and body composition of the suspect and 3. Whether the taser is in good working condition. Departmental policy might only allow the use of the taser in certain circumstanses. As for the suspect's size, the amount of fat on a person can in some cases make a taser ineffectual either the ability pentrate the skin or through a lack on conductivity. Finally some officers are weary to use tasers if the cartridge is old or if the taser hasn't been charged in a while. These issues can be because of negligence of the officer not taking care of their gear or due the agency not having the budget to replace or service the tasers.

madmack1008 @ 12/23/2014 8:43 PM

Tasers are made of plastic, rely on batteries, and must make contact with both darts from the right distance out....too much opportunity for Murphy to rear his ugly head. When they work, they're great. They frequently don't work. They're also, on many use of force continuums, regarded the same as a takedown. Would it have been ok to sweep the guy's legs (if one could make that work on a big fella like that) and have him bust his head open on the sidewalk?

TheRookie @ 12/23/2014 8:48 PM

krisnic, Are U Monday Morning QB'ing again???

Whenever there's a law(s) placed on the books (no matter how trivial it is) there's always the possibility that a suspect or Officer will die during the enforcement of or In The Line of Duty. It's a basic fact known by L.E.O's. Some seem to forget at times.
Stay safe out there Men/Women in Uniform/Plainclothes. Some politicians, Activists, & Citizens have declared WAR upon Law Enforcement. Sad days for this in America.

Halderon @ 12/24/2014 12:23 AM

I don't believe that the Officer went out of his way to murder someone that day. It is easy for academics who have never been in confrontations to object to methods used to stop someone who is resisting arrest-it is quite different being in that situation.

Richard Jellicoe @ 12/24/2014 12:46 AM

How much of that extra 350 pounds carried by Mr Garner contributed to his death. How much did Mr Garner's belief that he had a constitutional right to resist a lawful arrest contributed to his death. It was his choice to turn a minor issue into his death. There is no amount of riots, looting and arson that is going to change that. If you don't want to be arrested don't break the law and act like a thug

HFRPufnstuf @ 12/24/2014 4:18 AM

It's TASER, not "tazer," and NYPD doesn't carry them. And I guarangoddamntee you that if he had been hit with a Taser, and still died (because of his diabetes, GROSS obesity, and existing respiratory problems, the would still be claiming "murder" and "police brutality."
BTW, it is correct he didn't die from a choke hold. He was alive and breathing (although unconscious) for several minutes, all the way up until EMS personnel arrived. After that, it was in their hands.

rede2hike @ 12/24/2014 6:07 PM

I went in the academy in 89, and we were taught the "choke hold". I used it quite a bit til we had a similar incident when a suspect tried to pull one of our deputies into his truck and drive off. Luckily our deputy was in great shape and was able to get the guy into cuffs but because of positional asphyxiation the suspect died 3 weeks later and our administration screwed everybody involved in an attempt to keep themselves from getting screwed and after that we could barely touch anyone without justification.
Being a cop sucks now and we all need to take a nationwide weekend off....

bob retired leo @ 12/24/2014 9:55 PM

Did you watch he video and see any tazers on the officers? Not all cops have tazers. And a suspect has to be controlled now, not later when they are combative. The union said it all. Don't avoid arrest and comply. Now they have fired six rounds at firefighters in Jacksonville hitting one. Fired another round a deputy just passing by. Well if you want to make war with the police you better make peace with the criminals. The police are our last line of defense.

rede2hike @ 12/25/2014 12:49 PM

Maybe...obey the laws, Obey the officer and do what your told and you get to go home.. Ain't rocket science.
I was taught by my dad, treat people the way you want to be treated till they try to hurt you then bring on the winds of hell.

Cassiqu @ 1/1/2015 11:22 AM

Why did they have to arrest him at all? And why didn't the officer watching him mouth off, answer him, instead of standing there silent, looking at him while waiting for reinforcements? Garner was saying he was not doing anything illegal and was tired of the repeated intrusion of the police. That is a conversation, not a charge to violence. Why not answer him, provide a place for his complaint. Tell him, "you may be right, but I'm just doing my job, and I need to take you in." Or give him a ticket. You don't have to act as if someone passing cigarillos to homeless people are challenging the world. Studying ways to take in people's complaints instead of opposing them on the spot, the police could have a better chance at solving such issues as complaints in later meetings. Can show concern, not act as if anyone who disagrees is your enemy. Situations can be horrible. Drugs and alcohol do that, yet our society acts as if guns and more substances are just great. All ties together.

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