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.