On Thursday, the Huffington Post ran one of its patented subtle headlines regarding the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER,” the website blared, featuring a picture of a police cap. The subheadlines built the sensationalistic case: “2 Non-Indictments in 8 Days…‘I Can’t Breathe’…Darren Wilson Goes Free…” Huffington Post then listed other black people killed or abused by police officers: “John Crawford III…Darrien Hunt…Oscar Grant…Amadou Diallo…Ousmane Zongo…Aiyana Stanley-Jones…Many Others…”
First off, whatever you think of the case of Eric Garner, it would be extraordinarily difficult to sustain a murder finding against him. To murder someone, you must have intent to murder; not only isn’t that present in the Garner video, there is no evidence of such intent. As former prosecutor Andy McCarthy put it at National Review today, “Officer Pantaleo plainly did not intend to kill Mr. Garner; he applied force he judged necessary to take Garner down to the ground so Garner could be cuffed. That this ended up killing Garner was unexpected and tragic, not intentional or willful.”
Second, only the most cynically exploitative journalistic outlet would lump together the cases of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Brown robbed a convenience store, then attacked a police officer, attempted to take his gun, then charged the officer before being shot. Garner yelled at officers and waved his arms about before he was put in a submission hold by an officer and died of a suffocation brought on by combination of heart disease and asthma, not directly by the hold itself.
Third, the Huffington Post suggests that all officers “get away with murder. That conveniently ignores another police shooting today with a very different outcome: in South Carolina, a grand jury indicted a white police chief for shooting a 54-year-old unarmed black man. But that wouldn’t flatter the pattern Huffington Post attempted to build of uncaring white juries everywhere excusing police aggression against black folks. That would also explain why the Huffington Post suggested that the shooters of Grant and Zongo and Stanley-Jones “got away with murder,” when in fact, Grant’s shooter, Officer Johannes Mehserle, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter; Zongo’s shooter, Officer Bryan Conroy, was convicted of criminally negligent homicide; and Stanley-Jones’ shooter, Officer Joseph Weekly, was indicted on involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment with a gun (two trials ended in mistrial).
Fourth, the Huffington Post, in lumping together all of these cases, hopes to build the story of a white police infrastructure targeting blacks, rather than a generalized case against excessive use of force by police. Yet the Huffington Post ignores the fact that Pantaleo was “supervised by an African-American female NYPD sergeant,” who was present during the Garner incident and did not order him to stop using the submission hold on Garner. The Huffington Post also ignores cases far more similar to Garner’s than the others mentioned on its front page, including the beating death of homeless man Kelly Thomas in Fullerton (Thomas was white, and the officers were acquitted) or the killing of Robert Ethan Saylor in Baltimore (Saylor was white, and the officers were not indicted). The racial narrative matters more than the real narrative.
In sum, Huffington Post, as always, has an agenda. That agenda drives it to radicalism and outright falsehood.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.