Skip to main content

See also:

Opinion: Controversy erupts over choke hold death of NY man

We all trust the police to uphold the laws of our state, and to keep us regular citizens safe from harm, and violent crime. As a result, police officers are often held to a higher standard of conduct.

Because of these high standards we hold for our law officers, it's almost always shocking and disappointing when an officer of the law comes under scrutiny for using excessive force against a potential suspect. Especially if the force is not necessary.

However, that is just what has happened recently in the death of a man from Staten Island, New York, whose tragic death was caught on videotape. The man was placed in a choke hold by New York police officers, while he was being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes. The case was recently ruled a homicide, since the man died after being wrestled to the ground by arresting officers. Contributing to his death was a series of serious health issues, including asthma and diabetes.

The recent ruling most likely means a trial, in which tensions between police officers and the victim's family are certainly likely to erupt. Defenders of the officers have already cited the victim's poor health history as a major factor in his tragic death. However, defenders of the victim have maintained that excessive force in this matter was not necessary and that the police officers should be punished for their role in the man's death.

So, what exactly happened here? There are still many questions for people following the case. Was excessive force really necessary? The victim was not accused of a violent crime. While he did have a history of selling untaxed cigarettes, what has been shown so far does not make it seem as though he was trying to run from being arrested. While a history of selling untaxed cigarettes does not make the victim innocent, it also does not make him guilty.

If and when this case does go to trial, it will certainly be an interesting case to hear, from both sides of the spectrum.

What do you think of this case so far?