NYPD Union Leader Attacks Man Who Filmed Police Homicide

NYPD officers choked a man to death (the coroner has officially ruled it a homicide) and it was all caught on video. The man who made the video has now been arrested for entirely unrelated charges and the police union is, naturally, using this to distract attention from the real issue.

Over the weekend, the man who videotaped New York police officers as they put Eric Garner in what turned out to be a fatal chokehold was arrested by other NYPD officers for allegedly handing an illegal gun to a 17-year-old.

In response to the arrest, police union president Patrick Lynch sought to discredit Orta’s video footage, saying, “It is criminals like Mr. Orta who carry illegal firearms who stand to benefit the most by demonizing the good work of police officers.” Lynch leads the largest contingent of New York City police officers as head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

What Lynch calls “demonizing the good work of police officers” seems to be Orta’s videotaping of a violent chokehold that has since been deemed a homicide by the medical examiner. Police were arresting Garner over allegations that he was selling untaxed cigarettes, and they held him down while punching him in the face as he pleaded, “I can’t breathe.” He died several hours later from compression of the neck. The chokehold move is banned in New York, and the officer who performed the move has since been stripped of his gun and badge while an investigation is pending.

Classic misdirection. Even if Orta is the most horrible person on earth, that doesn’t change what’s on that video and it has nothing at all to do with the culpability of the police officers who did it.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Akira MacKenzie

    Cue the tired speech, heard on dozens of cop shows, about how we civilians “don’t know what it’s like out there!”

  • Chiroptera

    Akira MacKenzie, #1: …we civilians “don’t know what it’s like out there!”

    Unfortunately most of the “law and order” supporters have never been maced, choke-holded, stopped and frisked, or shot to death; in other words, they “don’t know what it’s like out there.”

  • smrnda

    I am almost always a strong supporter of unions, but I feel that cops should NOT have unions. They should not have job security. They should be made to answer to the public and they should be easy to dismiss owing to complaints. The cops answer to us, not us to them.

    Even if the person who took the video was a serial killer, that in no way makes the cop killing the guy in a chokehold anything more than a pea-brained thug with a badge. Just because the person who documented your crime is a criminal, does not mean you are not a criminal. Then again, I don’t think most cops are bright enough to understand logic.

  • Mobius

    Classic ad hominem…tie the truth of the message to some aspect of the messenger.

  • cptdoom

    Far be it from me to spread conspiracies, but I find the timing of Mr. Orta’s arrest, which included the police seeing him hand this illegal gun off, from what I’ve ready in other reports. I’m sure there wouldn’t be any attempt by the NYPD to disgrace a critic by setting that individual up, right?

  • Richard Smith

    …the officer who performed the move has since been stripped of his gun and badge…

    I don’t think stripping the officer of his gun is going to make him much less of a choking threat; he’s still “armed.”

  • johnwoodford

    @smrnda: There’s a function of unions/job security that absolutely has to be met, though–without some level of protection from firing for no cause, the police would be far less likely to go after anyone connected to their bosses, and/or much more likely to carry out personal vendettas on behalf of those bosses. (Granted, these things happen anyway, but really only when the interests of the boss(es) and the officer(s) align.) What we really need is transparency. Not like that’s going to happen anytime soon, though.

  • dhall

    Sounds like the cops were watching Orta closely to find something, anything to arrest him for.

  • grumpyoldfart

    My prediction:

    The homicide will be scaled down to assault and the cop will be sentenced to a two hour anger management class.

  • dhall
  • Alverant

    Beat me to it dhall. What a coincidence for the NYPD they just happen to arrest the guy and his wife who made them look bad. Noooo it has nothing to do with filming the NYPD’s illegal activities.

  • laurentweppe

    Unfortunately most of the “law and order” supporters have never been maced, choke-holded, stopped and frisked, or shot to death; in other words, they “don’t know what it’s like out there.”

    Or maybe they do know… and want to keep it that way

  • Matt G

    What is amazing is how transparent this retaliation is. Do the people who orchestrated this think the public is that stupid?

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    NYPD officers choked a man to death (the coroner has officially ruled it a homicide)

    Homicide seems too harsh doesn’t it? Surely manslaughter would be more appropriate here?

    @3. smrnda :

    I am almost always a strong supporter of unions, but I feel that cops should NOT have unions. They should not have job security. They should be made to answer to the public and they should be easy to dismiss owing to complaints. The cops answer to us, not us to them.

    How do you get to your first sentence from your second? I don’t think those things are related and I don’t think your inference holds.

    Even if the person who took the video was a serial killer, that in no way makes the cop killing the guy in a chokehold anything more than a pea-brained thug with a badge. Just because the person who documented your crime is a criminal, does not mean you are not a criminal. Then again, I don’t think most cops are bright enough to understand logic.

    I do think the police have a hell of a job and one i’d hate to do and suspect most of the rest of us would too. We do need police to enforce the law and maintain order in our society as unpopular as saying so may be.

    Y’know that makes you sound really prejudiced and like you have a major issue with police for some unknown reason right?

    A lot of generalising and stereotyping against a whole profession that many folks will, sadly, have to rely on at some key times in their lives there.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Correction :

    @3. smrnda : “I am almost always a strong supporter of unions, but I feel that cops should NOT have unions. (1) They should not have job security. (2) They should be made to answer to the public and they should be easy to dismiss owing to complaints. (3) The cops answer to us, not us to them.”(4)

    How do you get to your first sentence from your second? I don’t think those things are related and I don’t think your inference holds.

    That’s how do you get to your first and second sentences there from your second two sentences? Having a police union doesn’t mean they automatically won’t be dismissed and /or answer to us.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    PS. Also I think that nobody in any profession should be dismissed automatically on hearing just one side of a story. That’s far too open to abuse and a denial of justice.

  • DaveL

    Homicide seems too harsh doesn’t it? Surely manslaughter would be more appropriate here?

    Manslaughter is homicide. Homicide is not synonymous with murder.

  • jesse

    @SteveoR —

    While I’m not one to deny anyone “due process” the problem is that too often the police become agents of abuse. They don’t serve and protect — and they aren’t serving and protecting — when nobody wants to call them because they act like a gang with badges.

    There’s a reason none of the melanin-enhanced in NYC — or in many other places– trust the cops. They’d like to but it’s just too dangerous. If I call a cop for help how do I know they aren’t going to shake me down, arrest me, maybe shoot one of my friends for the hell of it because they had a bad day? If you want people to not think such things about police then they should stop doing that kind of shit.

    This isn’t one isolated incident. There were several just this week. A woman dragged out of her home and the cops smacking a 12-year-old, and then finding out they were in the wrong apartment to begin with. No apologies. Nothing. Cops who were stopping anyone who wasn’t white — I mean, I never saw them stopping and frisking any of the rich white people on Wall Street who are far more likely to be carrying cocaine or hiring escorts or laundering money. Or did we enact pass laws while I wasn’t looking? How many white guys get shot? There’s video of a dude with a goddamned samurai sword threatening everyone and the cops go to talk with him, ever so nicely. If he lived in Harlem they’d just shoot, no questions asked — and that is exactly what they have done.

    This happens again and again and again. People are tired of it. Policemen have guns and the authority to use them so damned straight they should be held to a higher standard than other people when on the job. You simply can’t justify killing a guy for selling a goddamned cigarette.

  • http://onhandcomments.blogspot.com/ left0ver1under

    The NY Police State want to discredit the witness by labelling him and his wife as “criminals”.

    “How can you believe them, members of the jury? They’ve been arrested and charged with crimes! We don’t arrest innocent people!”

    I’m surprised they haven’t tried to destroy the video and prevent its distribution. Yes, the cat is already out of the bag but I doubt they’re smart enough to realize that. Even so, US police (and government, re: the targeted killings of journalists in Iraq) have learnt their lesson – target independent and citizen journalists, don’t allow another George Holliday.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/george-holliday-man-camera-shot-rodney-king-police-beat-burned-article-1.1098931

  • eric

    I’m surprised they haven’t tried to destroy the video and prevent its distribution.

    IMO we’re living in a relatively brief social window in which our phones double as videocameras and yet the data is typically held on the phone itself. Another ten years, the concept of confiscating the phone to destroy the recording won’t even make sense, because that video won’t be on the phone (or at least won’t be exclusively on the phone). Of course we can already stream stuff now, but it’s not the norm or default. I give it ten years, max, before that is the default.

    Hopefully the smarter cops know this and will be thinking long-term about the best way to do their job when they are under public surveillance and can’t destroy the evidence. Best way to push reforms right now is for them to realize the “problem” can’t be prevented, not even with boot-on-phone.