I don't believe in the death penalty and I don't think cops should use deadly force unless their own lives or the lives of others are in danger. I also don't like to second-guess juries. But I also think they are predisposed to support the police. We need the police to be effective or else all hell will break loose, the theory goes. But what happens when the police are the hell that's breaking loose?
I grew up in NYC, and have never had a very good feeling about the police. But New York is an unusual place. Because there are so many people in such a small space, the rules about how we behave are different from the way people are in other places. The police have a tough job, I get that. But there are limits to what we, the people who live here, will tolerate from the police.
One thing is clear from the video. Mr Garner wasn't a threat. If they had left him alone, no one would have died, or even been hurt. So we're not finished with this. Something has to change in the policing of New York. What happened in Staten Island can't happen again. Someone in a position of responsibility needs to say that. The killers of Mr Garner must be punished, and the rules have to change to make it clear to police that they can't use deadly force unless there's real danger.