NYPD Should Have Given Garner CPR

With all the hoopla over what everyone is calling a choke hold, in the Eric Garner case, everyone is over-looking the obvious failing worthy of disdain. The officers in the Eric Garner case are guilty of failing to do CPR on Garner, once they had him under control.

There Was Never Any Choke Hold
The video clearly shows that Pantaleo had his right arm under Garner’s right arm, with the left around Garner’s neck at first. This is clearly not a choke hold, and could not have restricted Garner’s breath. At some point during the struggle to get Garner to the ground to handcuff him, Pantaleo’s right arm moved to a position over Garner’s right arm. Pantaleo’s right hand can be seen grabbing his left hand or wrist, with his elbows as wide as Garner’s shoulders. Again, not a choke hold by design.

Now, Palento’s left forearm does appear to be pressing against Garner’s throat, which could have restricted his breath. However, the video clearly shows that this was a byproduct of Pantaleo’s attempt to maintain his position on Garner’s back, as Garner struggled to get away. Pantaleo had Garner in this accidental “choke hold” for no more than 13 seconds, AFTER which Garner started saying “I can’t breathe,” which can only be done when breathing.

Force Was Clearly Minimized
As soon as it was clear that his co-workers had regained some degree of control of Garner, Pantaleo released his right arm, to attempt to get Garner’s right hand behind his back, quickly removing his left arm from Garner’s neck to assist in the roll over of Garner. Pantaleo then repositioned himself to a position at Garner’s head.

Here, the video clearly shows that Pantaleo did not have his body weight on Garner, only his hands, pushing down on Garner’s head, to aid in keeping him down, until he was cuffed. Garner was still talking, and therefore breathing. Furthermore, the video also clearly shows that none of the other officers were on top of Garner, once he was down.

Even face down, on a hard surface like concrete, it is not possible to restrict a person’s breathing to a dangerous level, simply by pushing on the back of his head with your hands, because the conturs of the human head, combined with the ability to draw back the lips, make breathing through the mouth possible at about 20-25 degrees from the center of the mouth.

Indictment Was Never Possible
There is no way Pantaleo or any of those officers could have been indictment on any charges of criminal wrong doing, in so far as their use of force, BECAUSE of that video. Even a grand jury of angry black people would have to willfully ignore overwhelming factual evidence to indict them, and that would have made them as bad as they thought the officers were.

NYPD Failed to Render Aid
Garner’s death was not caused by the officers, it was caused by his resisting arrest, his bad health, AND the officers’ failure to attempt CPR on Garner, once they had him under control, and he had clearly stopped breathing. THAT is where the officers contributed to Garner’s death, and YES the officers are guilty of watching Garner die, without even trying to revive him. THAT is where the officers are worthy of disdain, and where they are civily liable for Garner’s death. I can almost guarentee you that every one of them recieved CPRtraining, and that their department regulations require them to render first aid, until EMA arrives. Of course the EMT seemed every bit as indifferent as the officers.

What do you think? Do you see a problem with my analysis? Why do you think the officers handled the situation the way they did? How would you have handled the situation?


10 thoughts on “NYPD Should Have Given Garner CPR

  1. “The video clearly shows that Pantaleo had his right arm under Garner’s right arm, with the left around Garner’s neck at first. This is clearly not a choke hold, and could not have restricted Garner’s breath.”
    oh really?? So if I put my arm around your neck and squeeze really hard pinching your neck between my forearm and upperarm, it can’t in any manner put pressure on your neck? Have you looked at a nutcracker(http://i00.i.aliimg.com/photo/v1/315525960/area_plus_walnut_peg_silver_aluminum_alloy.jpg). That’s a metaphor for what’s happening in the vid. His neck is the nut. And the man’s right arm is the 2 metal bars that press on the nut.

    AFTER which Garner started saying “I can’t breathe,” which can only be done when breathing.


    • Hard to squeeze much with your arms spread wide like that. And you’ll notice that I DID lay blame on the officers lack of aid in contributing to Garner’s death. Remember that last sentiment the next time you call 911. 😉

  2. This is ridiculous drivel. You, as well as Pantaleo, have no right to be telling people what a choke hold is because you obviously have no clue. I have been a student and teacher of Martial Arts for close to 25 yrs and this is EXACTLY what we teach to be a choke hold. How you could possibly state that it is anything but, blows my mind.

    How you could also try and state that it’s now Garner’s fault that Pantaleo was choking him because he “tried to get away” also shows your complete ignorance of the human body, which goes back to your complete incompetence on teaching or using a choke hold. When a person is put into a choke hold and the blood or oxygen is cut off, the human body goes into a natural “fight” mode. The body automatically starts trying to remove whatever is obstructing the blood or oxygen. It’s completely involuntary. This is seen in drowning or suffocation as well. This is exactly why it is so risky to try to retrieve a person who is drowning. This is not my opinion, this is proven science and fact.

    That’s not even all the places that the officer was wrong in the way he tried to execute the move. You NEVER take down a person while holding your arm across their throat, as he did, unless you are trying to hurt them. Watch the way Pantaleo turns his hips, trying to use them as leverage on Garner. He then pulls against Garner’s throat and tries to flip him over his hip. Unless you purposely are trying to crush his windpipes, that’s one of the most ignorant things I’ve ever seen. A person who is properly trained in take downs would know better.

    It’s also ingenuous to say that Garner could breath so he must have been lying. The NYC coroner stated that the mans airways and throat were compressed. You do not have to completely close the airway to “choke a man out”. Garner obviously panicked and though he may have been able to breath some, obviously it wasn’t enough to keep him alive. Only when a man’s airway is crushed or completely closed off would he not be able to speak. I’ve watched family have full blown asthma attacks and be able to say “I can’t breath”.

    Another fact you apparently don’t know about choke holds is that you do not do them with the person lying face first. Again, not unless you are trying to hurt them. When you are on their back, with them lying face first, the only way you can choke them out is to pull even harder on their throat. That’s why its preferred to do it while you are on your back, because the position naturally allows you to apply less pressure.

    13 seconds doesn’t matter when a person already has health issues. To Garner, his asthma alone could have caused the effect to be the same as a full minute. All he would need to do was cause an asthma attack to trigger and game over. And no matter how much you want to try and push the blame off on his health, it does not negate the fact that Pantaleo’s actions fully contributed to and did cause his death. That’s why its called involuntary manslaughter.

    What really bothers me is that you are actually ignoring fact and science when saying these things but then revert to science to explain the face on concrete issues.

    To say that “There is no way Pantaleo or any of those officers could have been indited on any charges of criminal wrong doing” may be true, but not for the reason you stated. More along the lines of the prosecutor’s bias. Garner’s slapping of the offer’s hand DID NOT constitute the amount of force that Pantaleo used. Plain and simple. There were at least 4 other officers there at the time. You can see Pantaleo stalk around and position himself behind Garner. He already knew what he was going to do.

    • If you are such an expert and Pantaleo’s technique was so textbook perfect, then which of the three different arm configurations are you referring to, which martial art is it from, and what is it called?

      When I am blamed Pantaleo’s position on Garner, I was talking about the temporary positioning of Pantaleo’s forearm against the front of Garner’s throat at the point where Pantaleo was on top of Garners back. Every been in a street fight? Things are messy, and not every pain and injury your body inflicts is what you intend.

      Garner wasn’t forced into “fight” mode by Pantaleo’s technique. Whether or not Garner’s feeling’s about the encounter were justified, Garner was clearly already in “fight” mode, before any physical contact. That’s why Pantaleo abandoned his initial gentle attempt at standing handcuffing so quickly. And while I agree that people will fight like hell to breath, they also surrender for the same reason. Surely a martial arts expert like yourself has heard of tapping out…

      I’ll grant that I’m not familiar with whatever technique Pantaleo was doing, and that it may not have been the safest, for the person being taken down,  but it does appear to be intended to get a standing suspect to the ground, not to choke them out. As best I can tell, it appears to be intended to pull the suspect back and down, to get them off balance, then rotate them to the side with the trapped arm, to get them face down on the ground for handcuffing. Obviously, it didn’t work out that way, which is why they all stumbled into the storefront. Again, when fighting a live person on the street, things rarely work out exactly as planned.

      I never said Garner was lying. I said he could breathe. As a veteran practitioner of martial arts, you know that a good choke hold makes you cough and prevents speech. That’s why we tap-out instead of just saying “stop.”

      The coroner identify factors contributing to the death, not the intentionality of the injuries. There is no question that Garner probably sustained injuries in his fight with the officers, and given his health conditions, they were probably sufficient to trigger an asthma attack, which could have killed him in a manner consistent with death by a chokehold. 
      It is true that you do not need to collapse man’s airways to chill came out, in fact, most “choke holds” are actually strangle holds, designed to constrict circulation to the brain, thereby causing a loss of consciousness temporarily, as opposed to compressing airways to restrict breath to the lungs.

      No one disputes that Garner may have had genuine breathing distress. Anyone fighting four grown men at once would be winded. His just became fatal because of his poor health. To their credit, the officers did call EMS, once Garner was secured, but Garner’s condition did not appear to be your garden variety Incarceritus, which is why I said the officers appear to be worthy of disdain for not giving Garner CPR.

      While breathing distress can get to a point where it’s damaging, having breathing distress is not the same as not breathing. If you have enough air in your lungs to speak, you are not going to die from a lack of oxygen. You’ll hear an asthmatic stop talking long before they lose consciousness and certainly before their condition causes death.

      Ask anyone who’s ever studied Jui-Jitsu, and they’ll tell you that the back is the holy grail of positions to do a choke hold. And again, you cut off circulation to the carotid artery, not breath to the windpipe.

      Unfortunately, officers get a suspect’s health records before they fight. So they have no way of knowing what techniques might be particularly dangerous to use on a given suspect. If An officer applys a back-hand stun move to the side of a suspect’s neck, and that suspect happens to have a degenerative spine disease, it might break their neck and kill them. But how is an officer to know that ahead of time?

      So in the end, you feel that the officer hired by the citizens to enforce their laws, and given the authority to arrest people by force, when suspects physically resist arrest, is to be charged with a Felony, just because a particular suspect decides to physically resist arrest, instead of arguing his case in court, in spite of their own fragile health condition?

      As for the prosecutor bias question, I agree that there is an inherent conflict of interest when the person tasked with indicting an officer is there colleague, and a better system needs to be developed in cases where officers are accused of wrongdoing. However, if the prosecutor actually did act inappropriately, don’t you think that some of the members of the grand jury would speak out?

      You’re right, officers don’t fight fair. Officers fight to win and go home every night to their families. That means using superior violence NOT equal violence. Pantaleo could have backed away and use pepper spray or a taser, but let’s face it, if he had done that and Garner died, you’d be making the same excessive force argument.

      The presence of three other officers is why Pantaleo was able to release garners neck and move to assist with handcuffing so quickly.

      Yes, Pantaleo was approaching Garner from a rear position, as all officers will attempt to do when they plan to make an arrest, as it is the safest position to approach a suspect from. You will NEVER see a police officer (with a brain) attempt to handcuff a suspect while standing in front of them, unless there is something preventing a rear approach. If Pantaleo intended to choke Garner from the beginning, why would Pantaleo have grabbed Garners wrist at all? All that would do is give Garner advance warning that Pantaleo was behind him, and give Garner the opportunity to turn around and smash Pantaleo’s face into a plate glass storefront window.

  3. You approve that over the top rant but not my educated response? Are you only approving those that make the other side look ignorant? Did I say something that struck a chord?

  4. There is a huge problem with your analysis: Garner did not die in police custody, and that it would have been grossly inappropriate to perform CPR on someone who was breathing, and had a pulse. If you watch the video all the way through, you wills see that the officers correctly placed Garner in the “recovery position” on his side, and continually monitored his breathing and pulse until the arrival of the ambulance. When the FDNY EMS paramedic arrives, she also checks Garner for a pulse, and clearly states that he has one. She then addresses him, trying to get a response — which she would hardly do to someone without a heartbeat and who wasn’t breathing. While you claim to have had CPR training, you clearly weren’t paying attention if you think it is at all appropriate to start chest compressions on someone who has a pulse — because it is not only inappropriate, but profoundly dangerous. The officers did not “watch Garner die”, because he was still breathing and had a pulse when they put him in the ambulance. Garners death occurred AFTER he left the scene, when he went into cardiac and respiratory arrest on the way to the hospital.

    • Well, this is the first time I’ve heard anyone say Garner died of cardiac arrest. Why isn’t anyone else saying that?

      As for the video, I did hear one officer say Garner was breathing, when someone asked why they weren’t doing CPR, and I heard one of the EMTs say “yeah,” after checking his pulse. However, I could not make out any of the other relevant discussion, so I don’t know if she was saying “yeah (he’s got a pulse)”, or “yeah (he’s dead).”

      Let’s face it, that soon after the Michael Brown verdict resulted in more rioting, the scariest place on Earth for a white officer is standing near an apparently dead black man, surrounded by an angry crowd of black people. It’s not like there would be any lack of evidence to review after-the-fact, with the video and witnesses the officers were clearly aware of. So, in the interest of safety, I wouldn’t be surprised if they agreed to take the body from the scene, as if he was still alive, and sort things out later.

      As for the claim that Garner was breathing and had a pulse, take a look at that video again. Not one of the contour lines on his T-shirt move the whole time. That soon after fighting with four officers both his pulse and his breathing should have been pretty clear! Yet, it took two officers checking his pulse one right after the other to identify if he had a pulse at all, and any breathing he was doing was too shallow to see. If Garner was breathing and had a pulse, EMS should have an electronic record from the ambulance. So, where is it? Don’t you think they would have released that to quell some of the outrage, if that record existed?

      • It make sense to you that she might have said “Yeah, he’s dead”, and THEN talked to him???? Really? You honestly think that is a possibility???? It isn’t immediately apparent to you that after she says “yeah”, and then talks to him, and acts relatively calm, that she is indicating that she thinks he is alive (breathing and with a pulse) and that there isn’t a major crisis happening????

        Give me a break!

        Perhaps you are from some shady little department in God-knows-where, where you regularly conspire with other governmental agencies to cover up dead bodies, but I can assure you from 30 years of experience as a cop and a supervisor in a real police department (namely, the NYPD) that we don’t do that here. As for an “electronic record” from the ambulance, what, are you kidding me??? Why do you suppose that they had him hooked up to an EKG in the back of a vehicle, especially when they clearly didn’t think anything out of the ordinary was happening? Do you really not understand the difference between an emergency room and an ambulance?

        Here is a suggestion for you: if you don’t know what you are talking about (and it is quite clear that you don’t), it would be better if you didn’t say anything at all, rather than to reveal your ignorance through fatuous and silly comments.

      • I’ll grant you that no one appeared to be sweating Garner’s condition, but you said that the EMT clearly stated that Gardner had a pulse. I was just pointing out that all I could clearly hear was “yeah.”

        That said, while I can relate to your faith in your fellow LEOs and your sense of idealism in regards to how we should act, just take a look at some of the vile crap our fellow officers are spewing all over the Internet about Garner and the black community. Even if there is validity to some of their statements, it is embarrassing how some of them dehumanize people and disparage entire communities because of a few shit-birds.

        Likewise, I know it’s been a while since you worked the streets Sarge, but our top priority out there is surviving, not protecting the reputation of the department. Obviously, I don’t know any of the officers on scene there, but I would not put it past them, nor would I hold it against them, not to trust the angry crowd around them to restrain themselves, if they learned that Garner was dead, given the rioting and nationwide protests after the Michael Brown grand jury decision.

        Oh, and the electronic record I was talking about? That big-ass box they lug around everywhere records their vital signs. You know, that whole breathing and pulse thing? Or do your EMTs not run vitals on patients? Down here in Podunk, TX, ours take vitals on everyone they get called out about, regardless of outward appearances, or suspicions about Incarceritis, let alone the ones they’re transporting to the hospital. And in case you didn’t know, one of the primary purposes of paramedics is to stabilize the patient enroute to the hospital, and to provide as much information as possible about the patient and their condition to the ER doctors upon arrival. If they aren’t at least hooking patients up to ELECTRONICALLY verify and record their vitals enroute to the ER, then Lucy got some ‘splainin’ to do!

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