Contrast of Eric Garner and Michael Brown Cases - Essay Example

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Middlebury College
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Michael Brown, a black victim, was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer (white perpetrator), Darren Wilson, in August 2014. The occurrence caused outrage and demonstration across the country since the Justice Department didnt charge Darren against the complaints pressed against him. In the grand jury proceedings, Darren stated that Michael reached for his (Darrens) gun and a fight followed through which the perpetrator fired twice. Afterwards, Darren followed Michael and fired several shots which brought him to the ground approximately eight to ten feet away from him (Darren) (Bonilla, 6-9). The physical evidence gathered was reliable with Darrens testimony. According to the County Medical Examiner (ME), there was tangential injury present on Michaels right thumb that transversed across the surface of the thumb.

Additionally, medical examiner saw soot in the wound, which was consistent with a gunshot of proximity. The ballistic report articulated the foreign particulate with the product that was cleared from the guns barrel. The wound and physical evidence gathered located Michaels right hand to be 6-9 inches of Darrens gun articulating to Darrens testimony (Bonilla, 10-17). The medical examiner, Michael Baden, hired by Browns had a different view: concerning thumb wound, he deduced that Michaels thumb was just inches away from Darrens firearm. Baden said that Michaels head was shot downward which an assistant pathologist has recently reported being fraud. ME explained the toxicology reports that indicated the presence of cannabinoids mainly THC in concentration that he described to be insignificant (Bonilla, 16). The marijuana report that had potential to result in abnormal behavior he defended that his behavior before the incident wasnt alarming, Michael was just walking in the street.

Eric Garners Case

Eric Garner (six feet two inches) forty-three aged man was involved severally in the selling of untaxed cigarettes in an area close to Staten Island Ferry Terminal. On 7th July, Justin Damaico and Daniel Pantaleo returned for patrol in the area; a cell phone camera was used to record the struggle between Eric and officers. The video showed: choke hold, a swarm of officers and the eleven pleas for breath (Marcus 13). During nine-week grand jury hearings they received medical evidence from two coroners on the autopsy and toxicology. The police were involved with the broken windows policing and arrested Eric for the quality of life offense (sale of individual cigarette).

The county coroner carried the autopsy and established that homicide was the cause of death. The ME deduced that the death was as a result of neck compression (choke hold), chest compression and prone positioning through the duration he was physically restrained by the police. The pressure on Erics neck around the windpipe resulted to asphyxiation due to the presence of Daniels arm around his neck (Marcus 16-20). However, there is still controversy whether the compression was technically chokehold. The law permits the officers to use forces to arrest an individual who resists but should withdraw immediately after arrest or complain of discomfort (Marcus 23). In this scenario, Daniel fell Eric to the ground and Eric always shouting he couldnt have released him, but this didnt happen.

Contrast of Eric Garner and Michael Brown

The two grand judges were to persecute white constables about the demise of two unarmed black men, Eric in Staten Island and Michael in Ferguson. First, in the case of Eric, the video recorded shows a frustrated man, living a recklessly who is upset by the injustice of the police in Staten Island. He is not willing to be arrested again for a minor crime (vending cigarettes that have no mandatory tax stamps). During his detention the four police use force to bring him down for resisting handcuffing, Eric can be seen pleading that he cant breathe but the constables dont relieve the pressure (Chaney 490). Its lawful to use force to arrest people who resist being handcuffed however when their lives in danger the force should be withdrawn immediately; this didnt happen during Eric capture.

Daniel constable aged twenty-nine uses a chokehold; chokeholds are forbidden by the New York City constable division. Chokeholds are extremely dangerous and unintentionally results in deaths. Therefore, they are banned. The video showed chokehold from the start to the end, this enough irresponsibility to support an indictment for the second-degree manslaughter as well sufficiently carelessness to back a neglectful homicide prosecution (Chaney 501). It is similar to a friendly individual who drains himself several alcohol bottles then drive and accidentally runs over someone, despite the fact that he is good in the rest aspects of life and had no intention to hurt anyone, his recklessness put other people lives in danger which resulted in the death of someone.

Michaels case is different; the officer alleged that he put his (Darren) life into danger. Michael was seen walking in the middle in of the road blocking traffic; he was a match of the constables correspondent description of an individual who had just stolen a packet of cigarillos from an accessible store. It was a fact Michael committed the petty stealing; when Michael asked him to board the police cab, he ignored him (Jacobs 850). Darren blocked Michael path with the patrol car and alighted; Darren told the jury that Michael approached the cab, banged the cars door and punched him twice, on the forehead. This was confirmed by the presence of bruise on Darrens head, and other witnesses said there was a struggle at the cab.

According to Darren, he said was terrified of Michael, was heavier, he tried to reach for his firearm, but Michael also did so. Darren told the jury that at one moment he had fingers on the trigger, the gun was fired two times inside the cab, one bullet transversed the inside door panel and broke a window that had been rolled down. The second bullet grazed Michaels finger; there was his blood in the patrol cab and Darrens garments (Jacobs 856). At this point Michael was frightened he fled; some witnesses said Darren fired at Michael during the escape, but the forensic report showed no back wounds. Other witnesses stated that Darren later Michael to surrender for arrest but resisted, but he marched towards Darren this was evidenced by the presence of blood moving towards the constable.

Comparison Eric Garner and Michael Brown

The two cases are both African- American individuals who were unarmed and the constable were both white. This is the aspect of racism where the Blacks are always in the limelight as potential criminals if the white were either Eric or Michael, the probability of being shot would be lower. These are just a few of cases where the victim has been killed by the white, and they were not convicted by the jury; others include Martin and Sandra Bland. Secondly, was it necessary actually to use force? When judging the constables use of forces, the immediate circumstances surrounding the action which resulted in death should be analyzed (Ariel 530). Would the tragedy be avoided if the situation was handled otherwise in the first occurrence? Probably if the victim were confronted in other ways, their lives would be saved.

Eric died after being arrested, in this case, should he even have been apprehended in the first place? No, I dont think so. In the scenario of Michael killed by Darren, did Darren first speak to Brown in a way that provoked a confrontation that wasnt necessary and shouldnt have occurred? During the confrontation of the suspect, its crucial and ethical to use respectful and calm tone first until he/she becomes hostile than when you should engage other strategies (Chaney 490). Constables should be rational about the engagement of force, however, should be sensible how to handle circumstances before committing the forces. Police have been given authority in acting to the community in a variety of ways, but the force is not the first option; should act in a manner that reduces instead of increasing the possibility of engaging force.

In the instance that the force could not be avoided, the immediate rationale concerns what and how to use the force. Police have been given authority to use force appropriately (intermediate force such as OC sprays or handcuffs).

Engagement of each intermediate force means different; not all ways are justifiable. For instance, the case use of choke hold in Eric was unlawful. The police can use the force to control the situation, but the force should be of the same dimension to the significance of the threat. The shooting of the unarmed victims is not necessary since they are not causing danger to ones life. In both scenarios, the constables are seen engaging irrational risks that the rest of us will choose to avoid (Jacobs 857-862). The laws allow the police to accept risk but not wrong ones; that why the masses expect the risks to protect citizens from dangers but not to play the role of the soldiers. In both cases, the police engaged themselves in life-threatening instances this should have avoided saving lives.

Chief Police Training

The police department is committed to the sacredness and protection of life, human rights and dignity of all persons as illustrated well in the core values of the unit. The police officers are required to engage force in self-defense, defending the public and when executing legal duties. As the sheriff, the following should be employed; first the police should only use forces which objectively rational and should always be the last option (Ariel 515). Additionally, the use of force should be stopped unless the situation justifies the use of the deadly force such as a head strike with a heavy weapon, the reckless strike of ones head against a hard, immovable object such as a concrete floor.

Secondly, the constables should calm the situation via strategic communications, warnings and other sensible ways to eliminate the need of force. Finally, when the need of the force becomes indispensable, the constables should apply restraint methods when possible, the force used should always have the same measure to the situation (Jacobs 854). The constables have the authority to use the following forceful measures; searching and handcuffing, hobbling, control-holds or come-along, take downs or Oleoresin Capsicum spray usage.

Work Cited

Ariel, Barak, William A. Farrar, and Alex Sutherland. "The effect of police body-worn cameras on use of force and citizens complaints against the police: A randomized controlled trial." Journal of quantitative criminology 31.3 (2015): 509-535.

Bonilla, Yarimar, and Jonathan Rosa. "# Ferguson: Digital protest, hashtag ethnography, and theracial politics of social media in the United States." American Ethnologist 42.1 (2015): 4-17.

Chaney, Cassandra, and Ray V. Robertson. "Racism and police brutality in America." Journal of

African American Studies 17.4 (2013): 480-505.

Jacobs, David. "The determinants of deadly force: A structural analysis of police violence." American Journal of Sociology 103.4 (1998): 837-862.

Marcus, Nancy C. "From Edward to Eric Garner and beyond: the importance of constitutional limitations on lethal use of force in police reform." Duke J. Const. L. & Pub. Pol'y 12 (2016): 53.


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