T Nation

Choke Hold Death in NYC and the Nanny State


By now you have all seen the video of a man in NYC confronted by police after he sold cigarettes tax free. Police were called to the scene and did not randomly harass him. He resists, one thing leads to another and the man dies.

Now I see this as a direct result of big government. It baffles me that so many people are in the street shouting and protesting when they did this to themselves. They continue to vote for more and more government control of their lives. They elect men and women who raise taxes on certain items in an effort to stop the use of those items. The state gets used to the tax revenue, and the people develop a "black market" to avoid the taxes.

In this particular incident, the police don't have much of an option but to enforce the law. They were called to the scene, and witnessed a man selling cigarettes without a New York state stamp. At that point they have to act.

This is a problem with the law, the nanny state, and the people who keep voting for it. "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is also big enough to take everything you have."

Just a rant.


Gee-whiz, I voted for politicians that supported strictly regulating cigarettes, and soda, and marijuana, and alcohol, and lots of other things, but I certainly NEVER VOTED TO HAVE A MAN STRANGLED TO DEATH OVER CIGARETTES!

Smoking cigarettes and marijuana, and drinking alcohol and soda are bad ideas! Bad ideas HAVE to be regulated. However, killing a man over those issues es no bueno. However, those things DO have to regulated. However, physical force should not be used to enforce those regulations. However, if someone doesn't voluntarily comply with those regulations, he must be punished for not complying. However, the guy tasked with enforcement of the law should not strangle the law violator. However, the enforcer must enforce the law. However, it's important to remember that I voted for GOOD IDEAS, NOT ENFORCEMENT OF THOSE GOOD IDEAS.

What's that you say? I should have known that laws require enforcement? Well, what can I say? Don't blame me for the problems; I thought that good ideas should be codified into law, so I'm obviously an idiot.


A piece of shit cop murdered a man. That has nothing to do with big government. To try to link this tragedy to some weird "agenda" is disgusting.


This was not a murder. "Murder" is "to kill a person unlawfully and with premeditated malice." The grand jury decided that this was not unlawful; therefore, it was not a murder.

I believe that Garner was in contact with the police because he was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes(I'm not a smoker, but I believe that means that the government has been asked to regulate the sale of plant material wrapped in plant material). If that has nothing to do with big government, what does?


Whoever this Rob Hustle guy is, he's told the world what happens when the government is asked to enforce a law, so it seems pretty silly to keep blaming police officers for "murdering," "hurting," or "violating the rights of" someone.

It is up to the individual contemplating calling the police to decide if the subject of his call deserves to die.

Police have a legitimate purpose, and that purpose is protecting the rights of those in their jurisdiction by any means necessary. There are no concrete rights. When the people of a place decide that they have a right to not have untaxed cigarettes sold in that place and allow a law saying so to be passed, then, whether they are intelligent or educated enough to know it or not, they are saying that they are justified in killing a person for selling untaxed cigarettes(and therefore, the police in their jurisdiction are justified in doing so).


He wasn't "choked to death". He resisted, they took him down with a chokehold, he was cuffed and the choke released. He then suffered a severe asthma attack which killed him. The officers were doing the job they were called there to do. Situations like this always throw police officers out in the cold as the villains, but most of the time circumstances just spin out of control and something as trivial as selling some illegal cigarettes turns into this big racial powderkeg.


That's not what the medical examiners found.

They concluded that Garner was killed by neck compression from the chokehold along with "the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police". Contributing factors included bronchial asthma, heart disease, obesity, and hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

Lastly, I find your use of the passive voice to be distrubing. Circumstances just don't "spin out of control." Garner didn't die by some unforeseeable act of God. He was killed by cops who were using physical force to enforce their verbal commands.


Wow rostrow, go full retard somewhere else.

What I find baffling is that the black community chose to riot over MB, and not Garner. That's some fucked up priorities.


I think most people don't quite get how brutal a chokehold is. People think of blood chokes and falling asleep and shit.

Not true in the least. Yes, there are blood chokes, and you can certainly apply them well in high stress situations if you're skilled with said blood chokes.

But there's a lot simpler choke. You just crush the larynx. It's amazingly effective and incredibly easy to do, especially if you have someone in a chokehold.

I don't think cops should be directed to use chokes. They're not particularly effective in restraining people and the damage you can do is immense.

Like we see here.


No. As in, you are objectively wrong, and almost certainly willfully so.

And, as Doc P pointed out, your language is disturbingly Orwellian. Don't worry guys, the officers were doing the job they were called to do. Circumstances just spun out of control. Those pesky whirling circumstances! You'd think they'd get dizzy, what with all their spinning.

Meanwhile, in fucking reality, a guy quietly repeated "I can't breathe" while another guy snuffed him.


Neck restraints can be very effective in controlling aggressive behavior. The problem with them is that they require a lot of training and repetition in order to apply them properly. Unfortunately the majority of departments do not spend the time and repetition in training in order to assure that their personnel are proficient in how they are applied.

What you refer to as a "blood choke" is known as a vascular neck restraint. The principal behind this is to establish venous compression which results in congestion of the blood flow in the head and neck. Unconsciousness can occur in as little as five seconds. This is not a complete restriction of blood flow therefore life sustaining blood is still supplied to the brain, just not enough for consciousness. A vascular neck restraint is relatively safe for the subject, as long as it is applied correctly. We would consider this to be a "non-lethal" form of physical control.

When this technique is taught we would instruct the officer to trap one arm or shoulder of the suspect above their (suspect's) head before they compress the SIDE of the suspect's neck with their (officer's) forearm. The other side of the suspect's neck is compressed by the suspect's own shoulder (the arm "trapped" above the suspects head). Where this can go very wrong is when the officer fails to trap the arm and the officer's forearm shifts from the side of the suspect's neck to the front of the neck (over the top of the trachea). What started out as a vascular neck restraint (non-lethal) just turned into a respiratory neck restraint(deadly force)during the officer's struggle with the suspect.

Like you said, if you crush the Larynx or trachea, this is most likely a fatal injury. The upper section of the trachea, around the larynx, is easily damaged, similar to that of a Ping-Pong ball. Once it is crushed it is not going to flex back once the force or pressure is relieved.

I have been a use of force instructor for over 15 years now. My department does not permit neck restraints to be used for controlling aggressive behavior for the reasons I listed above. We simply don't have the time available to train our officers to the point that we are confident that they will apply the neck restraint properly. An exception to this would be as a last resort or when deadly force is justified.


There does not need to be be premeditated malice for a murder to have occurred. I have eyes and they say that was murder. I don't really care, in this case, what the grand jury concluded.

NY State Police have been around for almost 100 years. Long before "big government" in my estimation.


Negative ghost rider. The choke holder applied is against NY State Police policy.


I find it amusing people complain about being abused and killed by government officials while repeatedly voting for the sort of government officials who would make it illegal for an adult to sell a single cigarette to another adult.


The major fact here is that the "neck restraint" was a prohibited technique. In the video you can clearly see the officer with his forearm across his windpipe. If that officer had or remembered his training to readjust to get the crock of his elbow aligned with the suspect's chin, it would have been a strangle or blood choke. It wasn't a one on one, life or death situation. He had plenty of back-up. This would have put the guy down and under control is a safer manner.

I suspect the problem is because "neck restraints" are prohibited, he had no training (to avoid liability) at all, had the guys back, was already in a panic because he was huge, so took a stab at a sleeper hold.


I agree he is overstating his case.

But his point that most the the problems caused between police and citizenry are caused by The War on Drugs, Big Gulps, and Imported Geraniums* and Other Big Brother Nonsense is correct.

Most of the abusive friction between citizens and police (and the militarization of federal bureaucracy) comes down to drugs, taxes, and nanny state nonsense.

  • There is a 90 year old man rotting in US Federal prison because he unlawfully grew some sort of Geranium that was protected under Venezuelan law, which, in turn, is a US crime due to some sort of goofy statute (or some such --- flowers and some South American country anyway). Same concept got Fender Guitars, but they had the money to get it all tossed.


The doublethink of Democrats also applies to guns. They hate cops, but also only want cops to have guns.

The liberal/conservative dichotomy is false. It's a four way split between authoritarian/libertarian and socially conservative/liberal

I am a libertarian social conservative. I'd let you take all the drugs you want and sodomize yourself with wiccan dildos, provided you leave me alone and let me refuse to hire your freak self at my place of business (and vice versa).


I agree that there are a lot of problems linked specifically to what you mention. However, I don't believe this case is one of them.


This, OP certainly has a point.


Dude... If NYC wasn't such a fucking nanny state, this dude would have been given a $25 ticket and everyone would be going about their day.

You're ignoring OP's point, I assume based on emotion, given your response.

Think about it.