December 4, 2014

"No justice, no tree!" chanted the mob.

"Fuck the tree!"

Fucking the Christmas tree somehow seemed to be an appropriate commentary on the nonindictment of the cop in the New York City chokehold incident to what the New York Post called "[h]undreds of frustrated anarchists." What's the thinking there? The tree — the 85-foot-tall Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center — happened to be the focus of another crowd at the same time.

Thousands of people had gathered for the lighting ceremony yesterday evening, so there were radically different mobs on the street: 1. the planned assembly, crowded with tourists and media folk and lit for a television performance, and 2. the so-called frustrated anarchists. I'm thinking: frustrated or anarchist, not frustrated and anarchist. Wouldn't real anarchists feel energized by the opportunity, that is, less frustrated than usual? I'm thinking this wasn't a case of one crowd trying to merge with another but two already merged crowds trying to engulf a third.

The NYT — quoting only "No justice, no tree!" and not "Fuck the tree!" — tells us that the protest crowd assembled in Times Square, "began marching north along the Seventh Avenue sidewalk" and "turned east, declaring their intention to go to Rockefeller Center, where the Christmas tree lighting ceremony was scheduled."
But a maze of metal police barricades on Avenue of the Americas kept the marchers away. At one point, dozens of marchers attempted to push through the barricades. And at at least two points, marchers attempted to push through while chanting, “We have a right to public space,” and “We have the right to cross the street.” In both instances, police officers pushed back on the barricades and kept the marchers on the sidewalk.
By the way, to judge from the photo in the Post, the crowd was — to use a phrase famously applied to Tea Party crowds — overwhelming white. This is something I also said about the NYC protests about the Ferguson nonindictment last week, where signs read: "Only Revolution Can Bring Peace!" "From Ayotzinapa to Ferguson/Down With Capitalist [Police Terror]," "No Justice in the Capitalist Courts!/Internationalist Group." I didn't really know what to say about that, so I just quoted something I'd read in The Daily Beast, last August: "Communist agitators stirring up a civil rights protest sounds like a bad ‘60s flashback, but that’s just what happened last week in Ferguson, Missouri."

Surely, many people are genuinely frustrated, and they protest because they want what nearly everyone wants: good police protection and respect for individual rights. But others, I suspect, are energized and opportunistic, and have entirely different goals. 

53 comments:

Wally Kalbacken said...

If this guy didn't resist, and was just cuffed standing up and escorted to the police car, and the hoosegow, no story, no tragedy. Who teaches their children to react this way to police?

And BTW, the minimization of the trade in bootlegged cigarettes? Numerous instances of interstate bootlegging as a method of funding domestic and overseas terrorism have been uncovered. NYC, by jacking the tobacco tax has just made the problem more intense there. It's no joke.

sinz52 said...

Althouse: "But others, I suspect, are energized and opportunistic"

You only suspect???

Some of the aging agitators who instigate these problems have told the media proudly that they have been raising hell in every protest movement since the Vietnam War days.

You've heard of soldiers of fortune? Well, these guys are protesters of fortune.

They go from protest to protest, cause to cause:
Protest Vietnam.
Protest environmental damage.
Protest against racism.
Protest against sexism.
Protest against homophobia.
Protest against nuclear power.
Protest against globalization (the Seattle riot).
Protest against the Iraq War.
And now protest against alleged white racist cops.

It's what they live for.

sane_voter said...

Ignoring the specifics of the Garner case, what is the proper procedure to arrest a 400 lb man who is resisting? I really want to know.

Tasering?
Tranquilzer dart?
throw a net over him?

sinz52 said...

Wally Kalbacken sez: "If this guy didn't resist, and was just cuffed standing up and escorted to the police car, and the hoosegow, no story, no tragedy. "

FYI, resisting arrest is NOT a capital crime punishable by death.

And a cop is not an authorized executioner. He's authorized to use deadly force only to head off imminent threats to life and limb.

If the suspect resists arrest, the cop is supposed to subdue him. Not kill him.

There are some folks who have this attitude that "The scumbag had it coming."

paminwi said...

My husband and I were at at Ferguson protest in NYC at Union Sqaure the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The crowd there was NOT majority white. When we joined the group we were immediately asked what we were doing there because we were white. We expressed that we thought the decision in Ferguson was the correct decision. Immediately we were called sheltered, naive and the ultimate insult "RACIST!" That was within 3 minutes of us being there. We never stopped sharing our thoughts, first of all standing side by side and over the next 1.5 hours split up sharing our thoughts. Lots and lots of uneducated folks there about the real circumstances of the Ferguson facts. No one I asked had read a single page of the transcripts from the grand jury, had no knowledge of the three different autopsies, no knowledge of that many BLACK people had testified with accounts similar to Officer Wilson. I kept asking what are you going to do AFTER you are done protesting? What is your next step? I asked are you going to ask Eric Holder to keep up his civil rights violation investigation? What about when he is gone do you think this new attorney general will continue to push for the same thing? People had no clue he was stepping down and someone new was nominated for the position. My takeaway - lots of people making lots of noise without a whole lot of facts.

In this new case, because this was in their own backyard, which we also talked about, many if the protesters seemed to know many more specifics about the case.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

"Fellow white people, wake up" says one of the protest signs according to the Post.

amielalune said...

sinz52: Logic impaired, are we? The cops didn't execute him for his "crime"; they were just trying to make him comply. It was a shame, but, again, all the man had to do was cooperate with police and he'd have been back on the streets the next day, selling his wares.

I have heard NO ONE say that the guy deserved to die, but only that he certainly contributed to the tragedy.

sane_voter said...

The Garner case regarding the cigarettes seems to be tied to his selling smuggled cigs that had not been taxed by NY. I remember back when the taxing of cigarettes was ramped way up, and some smart people said you will start a black market with such high taxes on cigs, and it was scoffed at by the nanny staters.

Also Garner was apparently known to strong-arm local merchants. Sounds like another gentle giant we all know.

He had been arrested 31 times previously.

I wonder how those arrests went down.

Anonymous said...

I read that one looter in Ferguson said looting made him feel powerful. I think that is what motivates rapists and schoolyard bullies, too.
We once created a set of laws, courts, and various punishments to regulate behavior and resolve issues between us. Now I guess I have to find a mob to join in order to be heard. OK. I get it. This is what 21st century democracy looks like.

Brando said...

As always, the danger of protest movements is attention and tactics being driven by the most unsavory elements which you can't control.

There's good reason to protest the grand jury decision here, and to call for reform at the NYPD to prevent future instances like this. But shutting down ceremonies, blocking traffic, or worse--violence--will turn the public against you and accomplish nothing good. But how do you keep the rabble rousers away? That's very hard to do with a mass movement.

Brando said...

"Also Garner was apparently known to strong-arm local merchants. Sounds like another gentle giant we all know."

Regardless of the man's record, I'd rather our police not use excessive force. If there's a defense to their actions in restraining and handling him in this instance, fine--argue that. But how they treated him in this particular arrest is the only thing that matters here, not whether he was a boy scout or a local hustler.

PB said...

radically different mobs?

Bob Ellison said...

My local policeman, a guy probably 6'3" who looks like he could split logs with his hands, recently assisted in carrying me inside my house when I passed out on the lawn.

He left his gloves in the kitchen, and was graciously thankful when I returned them.

We need these guys to be guys.

Sebastian said...

"many people are genuinely frustrated, and they protest because they want what nearly everyone wants: good police protection and respect for individual rights. But others, I suspect, are energized and opportunistic, and have entirely different goals."

People who aim to disrupt tree-lighting ceremonies don't "want what nearly everyone wants."

Different goals, indeed, "I suspect."

traditionalguy said...

What is it about highly ordered civil society in the north that cannot admit they are really no better than an ignorant lynch mobs in the old south proudly defending themselves from "bad" black men by group terrorism for which they expect to receive high honors...and apparently they do receive them.

It must be a Mafia thing.





Hagar said...

Selling "loose" cigarettes is a Federal violation of FDA regulations that certainly the NYT would want to see rigorously enforced if the perp was a smokeshop or, horrors!, sponsored by a tobacco company.

The video shows 3-4 rather scrawny little guys of the NYPD trying to subdue a 6'-4" (?) 350 lbs. big guy, who was not having any. Rather think this would have gone down the same regardless of color. Garner said he was having trouble breathing after he had been cuffed and the choke/headhold released, and he eventually died of a heart attack.

Unfortunate, yes, but not sure it goes beyond that.

wendybar said...

But yet, the president and his allies called the peaceful, clean (picked up garbage after their protests) Tea Party protesters terrorists, enemies, racists, and anarchists just to name a few. The protestors now are all of those things.

MadisonMan said...

My walk in every morning takes me past the UW Police on Monroe street, and they have a whole parking lot full of big ass patrol cars.

Why?

This is what I pondered this morning in the wake of the GJ non-indictment.

MayBee said...

As I said (several times!) yesterday, there were a lot of SEIU pre-printed signs in the protests.

The SEIU has become a Social Justice Protest for Hire Union, and its involvement makes me wonder how the Garner case became the next big case for attention after Ferguson, and who is being served by the unrest.

MayBee said...

Now I'm hearing Chicago had "fast food" workers protesting this morning. That's usually SEIU, too.

Bob Boyd said...

Pro Tip:
Resisting arrest is a physically demanding activity. Train accordingly.
If you are new to resisting arrest, consult your physician prior to defying law enforcement.

MayBee said...

1. Police can shoot, beat, and possibly kill citizens and are rarely punished for it, regardless of color of the citizen. Kelly Thomas, the guy in walmart, the kid in Cleveland, and the guy in the gas station in South Carolina are all excellent and sometimes sad examples.

2.We need to discuss whether we really want to be revenue streams for our government, with that revenue collected by police officers. Has this changed our relationship with cops? I think it has.

3. We need everyone to have a reminder that, for right or wrong, resisting arrest is not going to end well for the citizen. This is a conversation we need to have.

4. We need to have a rational conversation about what we expect the police to do if someone is resisting arrest, especially in a relatively minor crime. Do we want them to let the person walk away? Do we want them to use physical force (as in Garner) ? Do we want someone who has been shot at to run away (like Mike Brown) or shot down?

What do we want?
I don't want mobs to encourage Obama to say stupid things like "we'll end racial profiling".

I want citizens to talk about the power balance with police.

Clayton Hennesey said...

If local policing and local adjudication now immediately brings Santa Holder to supersede and judge who's really been naughty and nice in every single episode, one can understand the reluctance of local departments to let their scarce resources get hijacked to what may arguably be politically pandering ends.

The solution, of course, is the tacit reservation, within the boundaries of which certain types of people are allowed to live unpoliced so long as they stay within their rez and don't cause trouble outside it.

There would probably even be private organizations within such areas willing and able to take up the mantle of authority over the residents there which Holder could then deal with directly rather than taxing the police departments.

chickelit said...

Could this all be battle space prep for the non-lighting of the WH Christmas Tree?

Anonymous said...

Down twinkles

traditionalguy said...

Rand Paul said it right. The issue was not the police squad showing off their dominance. The problem was a Revenue Squad enforcing every last tax cent from unarmed peasantry. Like speed traps the goal is squeezing revenue from those less able to resist.

They tried to once more use Garner to meet their quotas to fund the local Lords of Government. Someone had to die to create terror, and he was a black man in a white community. So they chose to kill him as a good public show of police working together in tax collection wars.

Bruce Hayden said...

Why did this guy resist arrest for a petty FDA crime? Likely because he was apparently a repeat offender with a long arrest record, was out on bail at the time, and that would possibly have been revoked.

Still, we come back to the problem of police being able to arrest very large suspects who don't want to be arrested. Should they get a heckler's veto over being arrested because of their size? I don't think that would be good for a civil society. And, in this case, the force alternative to the choke hold would likely have been pepper spray or Mace, either of which might have killed the guy, given his breathing problems.

Shanna said...

Thanks to the person in the other thread who pointed out some people whining about Darius Rucker singing White Christmas at this ceremony. I did not know he had a christmas album! I am going to have to check it out because he has a lovely voice.

These protest folks seem to be the usual suspects who show up and act like jerks at every protest.

Saint Croix said...

"No justice, no tree!"

"Fuck the tree!"

I can't wait for the greens and the anarchists to have a massive brawl over this disrespect to mother earth.

Rocketeer said...

When I read the phrase "fuck the tree," I thought of Steven Pressfields Spartans training in "Gates of Fire."

traditionalguy said...

What has a man's size got to do with it? When did it become OK to kill the BIG black men since what else can short white guys do with them?

Six short guys wrestling a big man down is Gulliver's Travels redux. If the roving police street gang wanted some free cigarettes that badly, they could have asked.

AReasonableMan said...

Althouse's mealy-mouthed response to the Eric Garner manslaughter case goes a long way to confirming the Crack Emcee's critique of this particular class of white people.

Shanna said...

Now I'm hearing Chicago had "fast food" workers protesting this morning. That's usually SEIU, too.

I drove past some of those 15 dollar an hour protestors in Little Rock this morning. Must be coordinated.

Newsflash folks, Arkansas just raised the minimum wage to 8.50. They aren't raising it to 15 any time soon!

Jim said...

Getting the pine tar off of my Johnson would require using solvents that can't feel pleasurable. I think I'll just let the tree alone.

richard mcenroe said...

Apparently, from what I'm reading in the conservative commentary, the proper police response in any situation now is:

Perform an instant medical diagnosis of any suspect as you approach.

Perform a snap evaluation of whether the relevant laws enacted by the community you are sworn to uphold are laws you feel comfortable enforcing.

If the suspect objects to being arrested, leave.

If you're a cop in this country, quit now, go home and protect your families as best you can. The "conservatives" won't stand with you, either.

No one wants you to do your job, or has any appreciation of the reality of it that can pierce their ideological blinders. So save yourselves and your loved ones, and leave them to their slogans and theories...and the fire.

Brando said...

"If you're a cop in this country, quit now, go home and protect your families as best you can. The "conservatives" won't stand with you, either."

I would agree with that if the commenters were blaming the cops for just doing their jobs. But can you concede that it is possible for the police to have used excessive force in this case, for that excessive force to have caused this man's death, and that once a suspect is in a perilous life or death situation due to the actions of the arresting officers, that those officers have a responsibility for the suspect's safety?

Even if you disagree that any of the above actually happened in this case, surely you can see that it is possible that those things occurred, and that if so there is plenty of reason to be critical of the police here.

Brando said...

And "conservatives"--to the extent the term is defined to include those who don't trust wholeheartedly in the actions of the state--are precisely the sort of people who would want limits on the actions of officers of the state. That doesn't mean hamstringing the police from keeping the peace, but it doesn't mean leaving them unaccountable either.

Hagar said...

Oh, and I believe the reason for the cops "wanting to arrest" Eric Garner was that the store managers in the area called in complaints and wanted "something done."

Then something like this is sometimes going to happen.
The alternative, I suppose, is to show up with a SWAT team and a quad .50 on a personnel carrier, but it seems that provokes a lot of kvetching too, besides, of course, the cost.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Why weren't they protesting the killing of Deandre Joshua?

When are Obama and Holder going to investigate that?

Anonymous said...

Brando writes;

I would agree with that if the commenters were blaming the cops for just doing their jobs. But can you concede that it is possible for the police to have used excessive force in this case, for that excessive force to have caused this man's death, and that once a suspect is in a perilous life or death situation due to the actions of the arresting officers, that those officers have a responsibility for the suspect's safety?


I don't see how, by any reasonable standard, anyone would call this excessive force.

I understand, after the fact, people saying that, because he died. But if he didn't have any medical conditions, he wouldn't have died.

I've used more force playing with my brother in the back yard when we were kids.

MayBee asks the right questions and maybe you can answer them?

4. We need to have a rational conversation about what we expect the police to do if someone is resisting arrest, especially in a relatively minor crime. Do we want them to let the person walk away? Do we want them to use physical force (as in Garner) ? Do we want someone who has been shot at to run away (like Mike Brown) or shot down?

What did you want the police to do in this situation with Garner?

They didn't start with force. They talked with him for quite some time and he wasn't complying. Finally, the officer behind him grabs his arm and attempts to put it behind his back. He resists. 15-20 seconds later, he is handcuffed and on the ground, controlled by the officers.

There is no kicking. No beating. No shooting. No punching. No batons. No tasers. There is approximately 20 seconds of wrestling and that's it.

The only way I can see the argument supporting excessive force here is to say the police should have just walked away. Anything short of walking away is excessive force.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I believe the reason for the cops "wanting to arrest" Eric Garner was that the store managers in the area called in complaints and wanted "something done."

That's why there were 6 officers there. They were called in because of a disturbance (A fight). No idea how it went from a disturbance to selling cigarettes though.

Hagar said...

and of he six, two were sergeants.
I don't see how any grand jury in the world could indict officer Pantaleo for actions under the immediate supervision of two superior officers.

One video shows a somewhat well-stuffed uniformed officer assisting from the side. This must have been a two-alarm call with one uniformed team and one plain-clothes. It does seem like there ought to be more to this story than what we have been told so far.

virgil xenophon said...

I notice that, despite grudgingly acknowledging the blatant presence of communist organizers in many of these protests, AA omits the word "communists" from her tag cloud. Touchy subject, AA?

Fernandinande said...

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only natural selection can make a tree.

Brando said...

"I understand, after the fact, people saying that, because he died. But if he didn't have any medical conditions, he wouldn't have died."

For me at least it isn't simply the fact that Garner died that makes this excessive force. It was the fact that the officers applied a choke hold when taking the man down when he didn't appear to do anything threatening to justify that much force.

Now, that can be a matter of opinion--he was resisting the arrest, not making it easy to cuff him--but force used on suspects should be subject to some proportionality. Otherwise, just squirming a bit can earn you a trip to the emergency room with severe beatings and chokings. I don't think just resisting or being uncooperative gives the police carte blanche to beat you up or choke you. Sure, if you swing at the cops, or charge them, they have greater license to do what's necessary to subdue you--but that didn't appear to be the case from the video.

If you're arguing that you saw it differently, then that's another matter. But for me and presumably the others who are appalled at how the cops acted here, this looked like excessive force which led to an unnecessary death.

Hagar said...

Oh, and one of the sergeants was Black and female.

No wonder the networks don't show that on their video clips!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the proportional statement. Some things to consider.

Did he resist? Yes.
Is he a large man? Yes.
Does he have a criminal history? Yes.
Does he have a weapon? No.
Is he assaultive? No.

Considering these things, I'd say they have no excuse to use deadly force, no reason to use defense techniques, or any batons. However, they should apply control techniques to bring him under control.

When police are trying to bring someone under control who is actively resisting as opposed to passively resisting, they go for head, arms and legs. Control the head and the rest of the body follows.

In any given plan, however, once action starts, nothing ever goes perfect.

Brando, I ask you, how did the confrontation begin and what hold did the officer begin with?

David said...

"The only way I can see the argument supporting excessive force here is to say the police should have just walked away. Anything short of walking away is excessive force."

They choked him. I say "they" because the other cops made it possible for the chokehold to be sustained.

He said he could not breathe. Obviously he could breathe a little if he could talk but he told them he was in distress and not getting enough air. Yet they continued to choke him.

When he stopped moving and stopped breathing they stopped choking him but did nothing to help him. They poked at him as if he were somehow going to wake up and start to breathe again. No one tried to clear his airways. No one did CPR. No one did anything, except watch him lying there, not breathing.



chickelit said...

No one did CPR. No one did anything, except watch him lying there, not breathing.

As a rule, you don't give CPR to someone still breathing and with a pulse.

Do you know for a fact that he wasn't breathing?

Did you see evidence in the video that he had no pulse?

chickelit said...

'No justice, no tree!' chanted the mob.

The left sure does have a way with winning the hearts and minds of children, when they're not busy aborting them.

Trashhauler said...

"I want citizens to talk about the power balance with police."

I think we would prefer our police to be calm and unafraid. Calm because it leads to more deliberate action with fewer mistakes. Unafraid, because we do not want them "waiting for backup" when a quick response will save lives.

If a suspect thinks he can get away by bullying a cop he will do that. If we don't back up the police, they will begin to take measures to ensure their own safety. They will not pursue. They will not protect you if there is a chance they'll be criticized. Innocent people will die and the media will ask why.

Take care when you ask yourselves what you want, because you are likely to get it.

Clyde said...

Fucking the Christmas tree would bring a whole new meaning to the insult "needle dick."

SGT Ted said...

"[h]undreds of frustrated anarchists."

They spelled 'asshole' wrong.