Political Editors / Jul. 18, 2019

Dems Allege Racism After DOJ’s Garner Decision

DOJ decides to the drop civil-rights case against NYPD Officer Pantaleo.

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it would not bring any federal charges against New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo for causing the death of Eric Garner. Five years ago, Pantaleo, while attempting to subdue and arrest a belligerent and much larger Garner, placed him in a chokehold, which according New York City’s medical examiner, triggered an asthma attack leading to his death. Black Lives Matter exploited the incident by coopting Garner’s last words — “I can’t breathe” — for another one of the group’s post-Ferguson rallying cries against police.

Upon hearing the news this week, Democrat presidential candidates took the opportunity to parrot the vacuous claims of Black Lives Matter, condemning the DOJ’s decision and insisting that this was yet another example of America’s criminal-justice system being racist. Sen. Kamala Harris asserted, “This is a miscarriage of justice. Our criminal-justice system should be rooted in accountability. My heart breaks for the Garner family.” Sen. Cory Booker called the decision “wrong” and “unjust.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren claimed that the justice system had failed “to hold police accountable.” Finally, Sen. Bernie Sanders called America’s justice system a “racist criminal-justice system” that needs reforming. (Some of that reform, by the way, took place thanks to President Donald Trump’s leadership.)

The real issue here was the fact that there was little evidence to make a civil-rights case against Officer Pantaleo. While Democrats spin this as evidence of supposed racism from Trump and his administration, the reality is Attorney General William Barr was simply following New York’s recommendation. As an official from the U.S. Attorney’s New York Eastern District explained, “This should not have ended with the death of a person, but that’s a very different question than what’s presented to a prosecutor when deciding under the Justice manual whether a person should be indicted. You can’t watch the video and not feel great sympathy towards Eric Garner but then I think you have to impose a rigorous legal examination of the facts.”

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