Testilying and Tribal Hatred: Cops React to the Murder of Eric Garner


Eric Garner was seized in an illegal chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo, thrown to the sidewalk by several officers, immediately complained of breathing difficulty, and then left unattended by cops as they created a “crime scene” to prevent people from rendering aid. Emergency medical personnel who arrived later did not perform CPR, or otherwise render aid to the unresponsive victim, who died of cardiac arrest.

Garner, who was not suspected of a violent crime, had just broken up a fight. Having been arrested dozens of times for the supposedly grievous offense of selling untaxed cigarettes, Garner had done nothing to justify harassment by police on the day they killed him. The lethal outburst of unwarranted police violence was summary punishment inflicted on Garner for daring to assert himself by ordering one of the tax-feeding pests to stop harassing him. Those events were captured on video, and attested to by numerous eyewitnesses on the scene.

The internal NYPD report written immediately following the events, however, insisted that the victim was not in “great distress,” and that after he had been violently subdued by five or six officers his “condition did not seem serious and he did not appear to get worse.” Portions of that report were published by the New York Daily News. The author of that document engaged in the familiar police practice of careful omission, dissimulation, and outright misrepresentation that has come to be known as “testilying.”

Although prominent mention was made that the “perpetrator” – the term of art used in the report to refer to the victim – “resisted arrest,” the use of the chokehold by Pantaleo escaped the notice of the trained observer and dutiful servant of the unalloyed truth who composed that document. This would mean that Garner’s death is one of those impenetrably mysterious incidents in which an individual somehow dies in police custody of causes unrelated to the aggressive violence inflicted on him.

Commentator Harry Siegel of the New York Daily News points out that the officers who killed Garner plainly saw him as a “skell” – a career criminal and burden on society. Those willing to wade through the feculence emitted by police in exclusive on-line chatrooms will find that “skell” is one of the least repellent epithets used to describe the murder victim. New York magazine tasked Joe Coscarelli, who apparently isn’t hindered by a gag reflex, to skim some representative samples of police sentiments.

“A more accurate headline would be `Non Compliant Fat Bastard Gets Just Due In Resisting Law Enforcement Officers,’” sneered one New York City cop. “I guess it’s the best thing for his tribe,” added another one. “He probably never worked a legit job. They city will pay off the family and they will be in Nigggaaa heaven for the rest of their lives!!”

“If the public isn’t willing to accept the fact that the officers did nothing wrong, they can go to hell,” groused one officer identified as Joe Hoffman, responding to another officer who protested that the treatment of Garner was unjustified and that the incident would engender a backlash. “I could care less how the public perceives us when we’re in the right and if YOU were any kind of law enforcement professional, you would understand that officer safety is FAR more important than public perception.”

Any “law enforcement professional” knows that there is no consideration more sacred than “officer safety” – and the proper role of the public they “serve” is to offer unqualified praise for their costumed superiors, and to obey without cavil or question every directive that dribbles down their chins.


10:09 pm on July 22, 2014