Outrage, disbelief, and blame: How newspapers covered Garner decision

Outrage, disbelief, and blame: How newspapers covered Garner decision

A day after a grand jury decided not to indict a white NYPD officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man named Eric Garner, newspapers in New York City and other parts of the country covered the decision with a mix of outrage, disbelief, and — in the New York Post's case — blame for the victim.

During Wednesday's protests, the New York Daily News' front page was published by the newspaper on Twitter, where it was shared more than 2,000 times.

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A drawing of a fallen Lady Liberty by Bill Bramhall, the paper's editorial cartoonist, was widely shared, too.

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In an editorial, Daily News columnist Harry Siegel called Garner's death "lonesome":

It’s the second Eric Garner video that made me cry.

Not the one where Officer Daniel Pantaleo chokes Garner for 15 seconds before smashing his head into the sidewalk for 10 seconds as other cops hold down and cuff Garner, ignoring the pleas he issued with the last air in his lungs:

“I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”

It’s the video shot minutes later as Garner lies dying among men and women in uniforms, men and women who seemed not to give half a damn, that broke me down.

[...]

I’m stunned, and saddened, by a Staten Island grand jury’s decision to level no charges against Pantaleo.

Anyone unsure why so many people of color are upset with the police, and suspicious of the American justice system, put your politics down, open your eyes and watch the videos.


The New York Times blasted both the grand jury's decision and the NYPD in a scathing editorial:

The Staten Island grand jury must have seen the same video everyone else did: the one showing a group of New York City police officers swarming and killing an unarmed black man, Eric Garner.

Yet they have declined to bring charges against the plainclothes officer, Daniel Pantaleo, who is seen on the video girdling Mr. Garner’s neck in a chokehold, which the department bans, throwing him to the ground and pushing his head into the pavement.

The imbalance between Mr. Garner’s fate, on a Staten Island sidewalk in July, and his supposed infraction, selling loose cigarettes, is grotesque and outrageous. Though Mr. Garner’s death was officially ruled a homicide, it is not possible to pierce the secrecy of the grand jury, and thus to know why the jurors did not believe that criminal charges were appropriate.

The New York Post, though, defended the grand jury, declaring the officer's action was "not a crime" and blaming Garner, "the man who tragically decided to resist":

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