Eric Garner protests turn violent in Northern California

December 9, 2014

hand upBay Area protests have turned violent, and they led to more than 150 arrests on Monday night as unrest spreads in response to the decision of a New York grand jury not to indict a police officer for allegedly strangling to death a man he was trying to arrest. [Reuters]

On July 17, 43-year-old Eric Garner died after succumbing to injuries sustained during a chokehold placed on him by Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Last week, the Staten Island Grand Jury chose not to indict Pantaleo, which sparked nationwide protests in similar fashion to the announcement of a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict an officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

In both instances, the man who died was black and the officer involved in the fatality was white. Racially charged protests have since spread rapidly in California, particularly in the Eastern Bay Area.

Protesters in Berkeley stormed onto Interstate 80 Monday night and blocked traffic in both directions. Earlier in the day, dozens of protesters stopped an Amtrak train by lying on the tracks or sitting on a sofa placed in the path of the train.

Most of the more than 150 arrests occurred as a result of demonstrators resisting or obstructing officers.

On Sunday night, protesters in both Berkeley and Oakland threw bottles, rocks and Molotov cocktails at police. Officers responded with rubber bullets, flares and tear gas.

One protester smashed the window of a Radio Shack and looting ensued. Others tried to set fire to police cars.

On Friday, the protests in response to the Missouri and New York grand jury decisions reached San Luis Obispo, although not in violent fashion. A group of about 40 people marched through San Luis Obispo Friday night holding signs and chanting slogans, like “hands up don’t shoot” and “black lives matter too.”

Two days prior, the Tribune published an op-ed penned by San Luis Obispo Police Chief Steve Gesell supporting Officer Darren Wilson, the policeman exonerated in the Missouri case. Gesell’s op-ed criticized those who claim Brown lost his life because of his race and condemned citizens who disrespect the law and law enforcement.

The Tribune published the piece on the same day the New York grand jury announced its decision in the Garner case. Gesell’s op-ed spurred a slew of criticism from San Luis Obispo County residents, while others came to his defense.


Violence begets violence. Look around, murders, kidnappings, beheadings, war,child abuse, elder abuse, spousal abuse, sexual abuse, poverty, racial divide, and greed…… seemingly from birth to death. Where, and when does it stop????


It stops when people have a realistic alternative to violence for defense and to achieve what they want in life. Since certain sociopathic and psychopathic types do not respect the rights of others in getting what they want, violence is sometimes necessary to stop them. The best we can hope for is to reduce the incidence of violence and that is not a simple thing with simple solutions either.


Back in the old days, lawbreakers like Eric Garner were routinely beaten by law enforcement officers. Now they are routinely killed and that needs to stop.

Back in the day, cops were far more feared and respected then they are today. That’s because they were far tougher and fairer in years past. Militarization of law enforcement agencies had also not yet become widespread. Most like Garner wouldn’t have dared break the law in such an obvious manner because they would have feared the cops’ response.

If Garner had actually been caught selling illegal smokes decades ago he would likely have been dragged into an alley by a couple of cops where he would have been thoroughly tuned-up with a truncheon, blackjack, sap, rubber hose, etc. That would have provided more than enough persuasion to cure him of his cigarette peddling routine without incurring adjudication and incarceration costs.

Now that we have arrogant and scared paramilitary girlyboy (like the worm that choked Garner to death) and female cops, they all too quickly and all too often resort to swarm choking and shooting perps. People don’t respect them and they seemingly lack the courage to employ non-lethal (truncheon, pepper spray, tasers, etc.) means to gain control of situations and the result is too often deadly.

Yes, we all know they want to go home at the ends of their shifts but something needs to change. I think we need law enforcement officers forged from real men, who have the training, tools and courage not to kill.


Sam: Well, you got part of it right, but your misogyny and apparent distaste for “girlyboys” and your admiration for “real men” is woefully out of touch with any semblance of today’s norms.

Admiring the past abuses of the “good ole’ boys” type of policing is kind of like having a fondness for the fifties or early sixties; sure, if you were a white male, things were pretty damn good, but women and people of color had a lot of shit they had to put up with, with rouge cops only being part of the problems they encountered on a regular basis.

I have met some women and men who are not real large that carry themselves very well, have seen officers that fit those descriptions who do radiate a confidence and present a real “presence” while in uniform and on duty, and I have also witnessed more than a few officers in uniform that exude an air of superiority that is like a chip on their shoulder, kind of daring anybody to mess with them.

I don’t think anyone assumes that being a police officer is easy, or that a majority of them are lazy or thoughtless; I do wish that every single officer would remember that they are a “public servant”, and that all citizens deserve to be treated with a certain amount of respect. I also would like to suggest that anyone in public safety that could have face-to-fact encounters with potentially violent people would look into supplementing their training by investigating the marital arts of Aikido, Ju-Jitsu, Judo or one of the other “softer” arts. As I mentioned in a different thread, if one would like to see what highly trained professionals are capable of, look at the training the Secret Service provides their agents. Link here to a short video of a Secret Service trainer explaining how they use hand-to-hand techniques.


“Today’s norms?” You mean the rotten laws of political correctness that have helped to do such a number on today’s society? I’m not “out of touch” with what you term “today’s norms”, I simply reject them for the trash that they are.

I didn’t say anything about physical size — odd projection on your part. One need not be physically large not to be a girlyboy. One however must be male and one must be tough.

I also never suggested that being a cop is easy or that most cops are lazy or thoughtless. What I have suggested is that cops do not enjoy the respect they once did and much of it that of their own making. I also believe that they rely far too much on shooting people whenever they face a physical threat.


Sam: I think you and I can agree on a couple of things here; reliance on deadly force is one of them, and that police do not “enjoy” the respect they once did. But we differ greatly as to the why of that last agreement; you assert that it is because the police have tried to be more politically correct, that because we have women and “girlyboys” (would mind defining what you mean by that term, if you do not mean to indicate their physical size?) the police departments have to more accommodating in who they hire.

Sure, back in the old days, a lot of police officers were big, tough, “guys”; but they were mostly white, mostly operating with a chip on their shoulder, and being in uniform gave them the satisfaction of confronting anyone they didn’t like the look of. And there was a lot of abuse dished out by those same “tough guys”, citizens’ rights were violated constantly, especially if the abuse was directed at persons of color, and complaints by women were not viewed by police back then as having much credence or seriousness to them. I for one do NOT want to go back to “the good old days”.

The “norms” that you so soundly denounce are the result in society changing; sometimes for the better, but not always. As a society there should be a recognition that everyone, regardless of their age, skin color, gender or religion all have the same rights, those same rights enumerated in our Constitution, and having police departments around the country constantly violating those rights is not acceptable, period.

I do not defend the actions of those who choose to riot, vandalize, destroy or attempt to physically confront the police officers who have a tough job to do, period. And I also do not want to see any police officer ever violating the rights of someone who might be suspected of committing a crime; there has been far too much abuse heaped on the community of blacks, hispanics and others who do not fit into the classification of white for far too long. Rioting is not the answer, but not saying anything, not expressing your dissatisfaction with the way things are is not going to help change anything either.


I don’t think it’s a matter of cops trying to be more PC. I think it’s politicians forcing them to be more PC that causes a whole slew of unintended consequences. “Girlyboy” denotes a cowardly/wimpy male, the sort that did not become cops in generations past.

Please don’t try to make this a racial or “chip” issue. I think there has always been a lot of police abuse but the end result more and more seems to be people dying rather than being roughed-up. I think this is largely due to the types of people who become cops today, the rules in which they operate and the overall militarization of our law enforcement agencies. Sure, no police abuse would be preferred, but that’s not about to happen. What is achievable is fewer deaths by cop. We know how to achieve that, as it’s already been done.

Changes in society need not be embraced and facilitated if they are deleterious to our citizenry no matter how strongly they might be advocated by some, particularly politicians, “period.”

I will always prefer to learn of a cop who had the courage to sap or pepper spray someone walking towards him with a knife over a unsure and cowardly cops who draws and fires at the first hint of personal danger.


SamLouis says: “Now that we have arrogant and scared paramilitary girlyboy (like the worm that choked Garner to death) and female cops, they all too quickly and all too often resort to swarm choking and shooting perps.”

About 30 years ago I was a Ginnie pig in a demo

A police woman grabbed by the arm from the side

This tall lady was able to suspend me (170lb at that time) on one tipsy toe foot (literally)

She was extremely weight lifter super strong…don’t be fooled by appearance and makeup.


I’m not “fooled by appearance and makeup.” I’m appalled by the increased use of deadly force.


By the way the “chokehold” used to subdue Mr Garner was a blood choke. When applied it cuts off the flow of blood to the carotid artory you can breathe just fine, its effect is to cut off blood flow to your brain causing you to go to sleep.

The choke had been released when Mr. Garner was saying “I can’t breathe.” The reason he couldn’t breathe was that he was having a heart attack.


“chokehold” used to subdue Mr Garner was a blood choke. When applied it cuts off the flow of blood to the carotid artory you can breathe just fine

Sorry, that is fantasy, its actually BS!

Both the “chokehold” & old but deadly bar arm choke will reduce or stop both blood and breathing!

Depending on how you apply it (if no one is looking – witness wise you can nearly snap a persons neck but in most cases a punch like application by the powerful and strong is almost like a knock out!


You are both wrong, a “Choke hold”, either airway or arterial is applied with both arms, one arm reaching around to the other, or using the second arm to push forward on the back of the head. Watch the video, the officer is simply restraining him with an arm around his neck from behind. If a “Choke hold’ was being used he could not have said “I can’t breath”.


“You are both wrong”



watch the video. It’s a rear naked choke (and not a very good one as the officer didn’t use his off hand for leverage).

It’s not BS. I’ve felt the effects of them many times.


It’s not BS. I’ve felt the effects of them many times.”



Don’t you love the irony of violent protests to protest violence? It’s lost on them I know, but still sweet.


As usual, the police and their relatives come out in force in the comment sections on any article having to do with them GO DO THE JOBS that the public pays you to and get off the internet!


12 Thumbs down.. wow the truth hurts eh? I hope the public takes note of this.


It kind of makes you wander whether we can really speak honestly!

Historically the most typical area for those vested LE benefits is to invade media with their BS or brilliance.


Don’t assume that it is all LEOs. A lot of people who have never had (or know anyone who had) a bad experience with a law officer, tend to automatically support them based on their personal experience.


The reason they riot is because they will get away with it. They find a race issue, then go amok and steal anything they can get their hands on. How does stealing a 50″ LED TV settle racial discrimination? How does torching the local businesses in the black community help out the community? Perhaps by rioting, they hope they will gain the admiration and respect of law abiding citizens and be treated better-or else they will riot some more. In addition, by being angry and acting out, they will hope to attract sympathy from rich liberals in the nearby SF communities who will lavish upon them plenty of guilt money-and elect a black person no matter how qualified (or unqualified) he/she is. Rioting can pay.


The issue is not race. This issue is totalitarian cops. It just so happens that when government gets out of control, it’s lower socioeconomic classes that feel it disproportionately. They also tend not to be able to articulate the issue all that well, so they take it out in violence. Apparently, many here fall in that ignorant category as well, despite their apparent privilege.


So you cried a river and stated some things (not to be confused with fact) about class and their inability to articulate. Have you seen the NAACP in action lately? With their Harvard law degrees I’m not seeing the underpriveledged in the same way as you but, I AM seeing scores of low class thugs (all races) taking advantage of simply outnumbering the authority and stealing their neighbors blind.

Oh boy how I wish that stupid young man had taken a different direction but, he maintained the course he began years before and paid the ultimate price only to be remembered by his absent mothers boyfriend chanting “burn this MF down…burn this MF down”!


NONSENSE. Property crime is down significantly in the U.S. and has been going down for years. We have a constitution in place that guarantees the right of people to get a fair trial. If the law enforcement community continues to disrespect this basic American principle, then expect more to question the legitimacy of their power.

The law enforcement community claims that their treatment of suspects is based upon concern for their own safety. HERE are the facts about officer deaths in 2013.

9/11 related illness: 1

Aircraft accident: 1

Automobile accident: 25

Boating accident: 1

Bomb: 1

Drowned: 2

Duty related illness: 1

Electrocuted: 1

Fall: 4

Fire: 1

Gunfire: 30

Gunfire (Accidental): 2

Heart attack: 10

Motorcycle accident: 4

Stabbed: 2

Struck by vehicle: 8

Training accident: 2

Vehicle pursuit: 4

Vehicular assault: 5

On the other hand, here are the facts about people killed by police officers in ONE month of 2013. (both justified and unjustified): You can view other months and years from links off of this:,_November_2013


I agree with the most of your post but the linked article doesn’t really support your point that well. Assuming the article accurately describes the circumstances (a big assumption, granted), the majority of the police “killings” listed were justified and most of the rest may have been (insufficient detail). There were a couple of cases of over-reaction and bad judgment in dealing with suspects armed with knives and one case that where witness claims strongly disputed the officer’s claim for self defense.


I agree but that was one month. When you look at those cases over a year, it really starts adding up. Also consider that it’s not like there is no history with guns being planted, and so on. But if someone legitimately pulls a gun on a cop, they are fair game as far as I’m concerned. I have no issue with that, although I think that because of how trigger happy police have been, it probably increases the desperation level for some. Any cop that could disarm the person would be very impressive and that is the kind of cop I would really consider a true humanitarian, but I don’t expect police to take that kind of risk.

I think another issue is that the confrontation level needs to reflect the level of a crime. If someone has already been identified, they can be picked up later if it’s a nonviolent crime against the state, or a petty theft.

One of things I’m trying to illustrate too is that there is a lot about the issue to discuss, but a lot of the reaction, especially form those in the law enforcement community, is an absolute rejection of any discussion about the validity of any the situations. It’s 100% “resist and die,” and I think that is very disconcerting. I have appreciated your very reasonable and rational posts.


You make the mistake of assuming that because some used the protests as an excuse for looting, that all had the same motivation for their protests. It is a real stretch to think that, in the heat of the moment, any of them thought about hoping “to attract sympathy from rich liberals in the nearby SF communities who will lavish upon them plenty of guilt money-and elect a black person no matter how qualified (or unqualified) he/she is.” There may be a few who tried to capitalize on that after the fact — but at the time? Not likely.


Garner suffered cardiac arrest in the ambulance taking him to the hospital and was pronounced dead about an hour later. He was 6-foot-3 and weighed 350 pounds, suffered from a number of health problems, including heart disease, severe asthma, diabetes, obesity, and sleep apnea.

Having fought the law for the majority of his adult life its pitiful that he never ever learned or understood the meaning of respect for authority.


When you feel the legitimacy of the authority is in question, disrespect for it is not out of line with American principles.

the guy paso

Well, since hadly anyone reads the Trib, I would not credit them with the paltry 40 protesters who showed up last Friday. Did the New Times run the story as well?


Trib, is it still in business?


Just as your right to wildly swing your arms about ends with my right to not have my nose be punched, the right to peaceful protest ends with putting others in danger, theft and vandalism.

Book ’em danno.

By the way, if you don’t want bad things to happen to you, don’t resist arrest.


If you don’t want bad things to happen, to let overpaid police have the right to put people in a chokehold for selling cigarettes. Don’t let police do anything that’s going to kill an unarmed suspect. GET THEM TO COURT it’s their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. Because if this continues to happen, you’re going to see these kinds of riots nationwide.

Is selling single cigarettes so important that you think someone should be beaten down if they don’t submit? If so, there are a ton of third world countries you’d feel right at home in.


Answer your own question “is selling a cigarette illegally worth my life? Should I cooperate with the law or resist to my death….”.


You are confusing two different questions as one.. Should I cooperate or risk death is a personal responsibility question. By all means people are being dumb by not cooperating. Then there is a second question and that is a policy question, which is entirely separate.

Putting all the blame on people resisting is like putting all the blame on a rape victim for wearing suggestive clothing.


People sell single cigarettes because it is profitable to do so; and why is it profitable? because people like yourself think that it is their job to stick their progressive nose in everyone’s business. Confiscatory taxes on cigarettes has created a business opportunity. It was predicted but ignored by the tax crazy libs in New York. They were told that if they raise taxes on smokes it would cause an underground market but they persisted. The blood of Mr Garner is on the hands of tax hungry politicians in the big apple.


How am I a progressive? I don’t agree with laws on prohibition nor targeting villianized substances for overbearing taxation either.. What I can’t understand is why other conservatives seem to support government overreach in a case like this, and all I can conclude is that they are racist and believe the police are protecting them from the rabid hordes of “thugs.”



You are oversimplifying. He was not “put in a chokehold for selling cigarettes.” He was held for resisting arrest, which is a significantly different crime. (And, if you believe the reports, he was not put in a “chokehold” at all).


You’re right I am oversimplying but I’m sorry but have you seen the video?

Is that what you call “resisting arrest?” I did not hear them try to talk him into putting his hands behind his back, he resistance was very very slight before they went berzerk on him. Why not just issue him a citation and walk away? Why does everything have to be a contest of force?


“Resisting arrest” is an overused accusation by police. Some use is as an excuse to be a badged bully, some as a coverup for bad judgment in use of force. mkaney is right in saying that as videos become increasingly common, this behavior will be increasingly unacceptable. If people can’t get justice within the system, they will turn to public protests and some of them will go overboard in doing so.