Monday, Dec. 29, 2014 | 2:02 a.m.
It is truly unfortunate that Eric Garner died during the videotaped incident in which New York police officers were attempting to arrest him. I am sure everyone wishes that all participants had acted differently so that his life wouldn’t have been lost.
However, a candid discussion about improving relations with the police is not facilitated when Eugene Robinson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning black journalist, significantly misrepresents and minimizes Garner’s actions during the incident by asserting, “at no point did he strike out at the officers or show them disrespect” (“The Eric Garner Case’s Sickening Outcome,” Dec. 20).
In the eyes of any objective person, Garner’s conduct on videotape demonstrates utter disrespect for the officers’ statutory power to effectuate an arrest. (Indeed, resisting arrest is a separate crime). Prior to the scuffle with police, Garner’s blaring voice is heard over the less-audible voices of the officers who are talking calmly to Garner. Garner’s ultimatum to the officers (“I’m tired of this. ... This stops today”), his other verbal demands (“Just leave me alone. ... Don’t touch me” ) and his flailing arms while resisting attempts to handcuff him were blatantly combative and disrespectful.
Robinson’s specious claim that Garner was not disrespectful to the officers undermines his own credibility and does a disservice to any member of the black community (or member of any other group) who would foolishly adopt Robinson’s strained interpretations and act accordingly when dealing with the police.