According to a coroner's report, Eric Garner died due to "compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint" as he was wrestled to the ground by Daniel Pantaleo and fellow New York City police officers.
On Wednesday a grand jury, presented with the report and a video of the entire incident, declined to indict Mr Pantaleo on charges related to Garner's death. The move, coming on the heels of a similar grand jury decision in a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, has prompted two nights of massive protests in New York and widespread outrage in the media over alleged police brutality.
For some, however, another party bears some responsibility in Garner's death - an out-of-control nanny-state government attempting to enforce a prohibition on the sale of untaxed cigarettes.
"For someone to die over breaking that law, there really is no excuse for it," Kentucky Senator Paul said on MSNBC Wednesday night. "But I do blame the politicians. We put our police in a difficult situation with bad laws."
Reason magazine's A Barton Hinkle explains how New York's high state and city cigarette taxes - totalling $5.95 a pack - have created a thriving black market on the city's streets.This is, of course, economics 101 creation of a black market which the tobacco control industry consistently refuses to accept. It's all a figment of Big Tobacco's imagination, apparently.
Meanwhile, in the real world, it is the Police who have to enforce the short-sightedness of politicians.
The Daily Caller's W James Antle says that while public outrage is focusing on the level of force employed by the New York police, "let's not let the people who write the laws off the hook".
"A man who is killed by government overreach, fueled by anti-tobacco fanaticism, is just as dead as one who smokes a carton of unfiltered Pall Malls every week for 30 years," he writes.
"You want an all-encompassing state with the power to stop you from smoking?" writes the Hayride's Scott McKay. "Well, don't complain about the Eric Garner case. This is what big government looks like."The US left are obviously not having it. They love big government and they love the state telling people what they can and can't do, so instead prefer to bash the police.
A less tragic case of public health absurdity harming the perception of the police occurred in Scotland earlier this year, which was described on Twitter by a Scottish licensing expert today as the best licensing headline of 2014 (best as in facepalm funny, that is).
Barman accused of breaking licensing law by serving undercover policeman a pint without a roll and sausage walks free from court after case collapses
THE case against a barman accused of serving one roll and sausage too few to undercover police ordering an early-morning pint collapsed in chaos yesterday.
It’s estimated £25,000 of public money was wasted on the criminal prosecution over a 30p roll and sausage.
The dad of three from Blantyre, Lanarkshire, was snared for serving pints to two undercover officers – known only as Archie and Davie – at 8.15am at the Empire Bar in Glasgow with one roll and sausage instead of two.
Licensee John Longeran, a football agent, was also arrested and both men were charged for allegedly breaching the city’s licensing laws by serving alcohol without a breakfast.
Allan said: “If it wasn’t so serious, I’d call it a pantomime.In both cases, the driving force for enforcement by the police has come from laws created entirely on the back of exaggeration and scaremongery created by state-funded 'public heath' lunatics. In both cases a transaction which many people wish to voluntarily conduct has been criminalised and the police sent in to make heavy-handed arrests. One resulted in a death, the other in the utter waste of £25,000 over the failure to provide a 30p roll.
“I’d never seen the inside of a court until this farce began. I thought the police were meant to chase murderers.”
The outcome is particularly embarrassing for Police Scotland at a time when resources are stretched and when the old Strathclyde police region has at least 33 unsolved murders.
With just about everyone who comments on the measure recognising the fact that a ban on smoking in cars is going to cause the police even more complex problems for enforcement, you have to wonder why those at the top of the police command chain aren't making more noise. How low will their reputations and respect amongst the public sink before they realise they are wasting their time and resources, while simultaneously being held up as patsies by the state, their quangos, fake charities and others who politicians squander our taxes on?
See also "Yes, Stupid Laws Help Kill People" from Saturday's Link Tank.
H/T Norcal David G & Frank Davis