Suppression/suffocation death by police officers is never permitted by any law. And it is always a violation of the civil rights in the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution.
Eric Garner, suffocated by choke hold of a police officer while selling cigarettes on a street in New York City, NY, 2015. "I Can't Breathe!"
Tony Timpa, suffocated by a police officer in Dallas, TX after he called 911 for help, 2016. "Help Me!"
Carlos Ingram Lopez, suffocated by police officers in his grandmother’s garage, Tucson, AZ, April 2020. "Nana!"
George Floyd, suffocated by police officers on a street in Minneapolis, MN, May 2020. "I Can't Breathe!"
Angelo Quinto, ripped from his mother's embrace in her home, thrown down and brutally killed by officers right in front of her, Antioch, CA, Dec 2020. "Please don't kill me!"
Search the videos. Be aware the content is disturbing.
About 70 citizens have suffered death by suppression/suffocation at the hands of police officers. Every one is a tragedy. As a point of reference, usually more than 1,000 citizens die at the hands of police officers each year from all means.
4th Amendment to the Constitution:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons…shall not be violated.”
The only point of suppression/suffocation is to stop a person from breathing.
The only reason to stop a person from breathing is to inflict death. The outcome is known.
It requires the suffocator to be in a position of authority, power, and in physical control of the person being suffocated for an extended period of time, so death is no accident or sudden "oops".
Officers may not claim suppression/suffocation death was an attempt to force a person to be “calm”. That is epic dishonesty. Even without a conscious thought, the body will instinctively buck off a suffocating force. Calm only happens at death.
Officers without a medical degree cannot claim that they are qualified to manage the fine line between life and death, so officers must never threaten death in this way.
And officers without a medical degree cannot claim that they have the ability to revive a patient who has died, nor can officers restore brain damage or other injuries, so they must never even get close to inflicting such a horrible, slow, tortuous, helpless, purposeful and intentional death.
Suppression/suffocation is NEVER lawful police work. It is ALWAYS murder, first degree: it is always premeditated, intentional, a decision by an officer at a scene using the officer's free will, it takes quite some time, and has a known and expected result. It doesn’t matter if the suffocation was inflicted by choking, force on the lungs or by putting a bag of any sort over a person’s head. Restricting a citizen's breathing is suffocation, and suffocation leads to death.
There are always lawful ways to accomplish what an officer should do to “protect and serve” the public that do not involve intentional murder or the ultimate violation of civil rights.
Observe that in today's world there is video of these types of events. In decades past there was only testimony by the surviving officer, maybe from bystanders. Everyone knows how those cases played out, how hard it was to find justice for violations of the Fourth Amendment protections. Video should help citizens find justice, for video has become the new star witness to Fourth Amendment violations. And this witness cannot be contradicted. We can all discern with the benefit of hindsight whether police action is justified or not, just like analyzing play-by-play reruns in sports. It helps us all -- citizens, police, prosecutors and courts -- strive for improvement.
Video provides something else too. Consider how many videos you do not see. Police officers process an average of over 26,000 arrests each day in the USA. Only 3 deaths per day means that most police work is not lethal to citizens, and there are not objections to most of that activity, so keep that frame of reference in mind. All Americans would like to see civil rights respected in all interactions, and fixing the exceptions is the goal.
Failure in our courts makes our streets unsafe.
No court can ever justify denying proper judgment for violations of the civil rights of citizens in a suffocation murder by police officers.
Suppression/suffocation death by officers is always murder, a decision made by an officer using his/her free will at a scene, and a murder conviction must be certain. Every time. Courts that fail to convict of murder every officer who suffocates a citizen have failed America, failed the Constitution.
If courts were honest about what everyone can plainly see in video, and the officer who murdered Eric Garner was convicted in court of murder (not absolved of liability because a judge claimed he had "qualified immunity" to commit murder) then Tony Timpa, Carlos Lopez, George Floyd and Angelo Quinto and all of the about 70 others who were suffocated by police officers after Mr. Garner would still be alive. One conviction for murder, and every officer everywhere would know, "Don't ever do that!"
Responsibility for all of the other suffocation deaths after Mr. Garner's belongs to that court that gravely failed in the Garner case, and to the courts that failed in every similar case before and after that one. Judges must not permit and condone "unreasonable" murder by police officers.
* Special note to civil rights attorneys, regarding every death of a citizen by police officer suffocation:
- Training academies that teach officers to suffocate citizens must be named as co-conspirators.
- Trainers and supervisors on any police force that train officers to inflict suffocation must be named as co-conspirators.
- Always name as co-conspirators in any suffocation death by officers when a "spit hood" is used, the individuals who own and operate the manufacture, sales and distribution of “spit hoods”, as well as all individuals at any police department that made the decision to purchase and deploy these “death devices”. Everyone knows you don’t let children play with plastic bags, and you don’t put bags near cribs due to the risk of suffocation. Why would any adult think putting any kind of bag over the head of a citizen who is restrained and already traumatized from being attacked by officers is any way to "protect and serve"...?!
Name the co-conspirators in the civil rights lawsuits, and let's put an end this conspiracy to commit brutal murders on our streets.
Courts are the protectors of our civil rights. Citizens must have judges who know, respect and uphold the Constitution's protections. We must have judges who are honest about violations. "A violation is a violation, and when rights are violated restitution is due." And citizens need police officers, who graduated from law enforcement academy and who claim to be enforcing laws they know and cite, to know and respect the highest of all laws:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons…shall not be violated...”
- Fourth Amendment, US Constitution