Jon Stewart Does It Again, Absolutely Destroys Smearers of Eric Garner

December 7th 2014

Matthew Segal

On the heels of his emotional report last Wednesday night, Jon Stewart played a montage of pundits who attempted to aggrandize the threatening nature of Eric Garner and absolve police officer Daniel Pantaleo of any wrongdoing in his death. As Stewart stated, people have tried "to blame the death of Eric Garner on anything but the injustices of a flawed system." 

A montage of pundits from CNN, Al Jazeera, and FOX all exemplify this, stating "[Garner] was a big man..." "he was a huge individual..." "Garner outweighed the officer by probably about 150 pounds..." As we reported earlier this week, there is an archetypal American fear of the big black man, which these statements clearly reflect.  

Meanwhile, U.S. Congressman Peter King took a different approach in excusing the conduct of officer Pantaleo, arguing that Garner was already in poor health and thus, presumably, more likely to die easily from any force.  "If [Garner] had not had asthma, a heart condition, and was so obese he would not have died from this," stated the Congressman on cable news. 

Stewart countered with evidence: "The medical report says that Garner died from compression of the neck and compression of the chest. That sounds more like death by choking than death by chocolate."  Watch the full clip here:

A citizen-led organization tasked with investigating complaints against the NYPD released a report in October that found chokehold complaints have increased to 219 from July 2013 to June 2014—up from the 200 per year reported for 2006-2010. The Civilian Complaint Review Board said in a statement that the “findings demonstrate that, at least from the point of view of the particular experience of the complaints, police officers continue to use chokeholds and the persistence of this practice puts civilians at physical risk.” 

The report also noted, alarmingly, that complaints were often not investigated, and officers were not reprimanded for using a tactic prohibited by the NYPD Patrol Guide for more than 20 years. 

What all of this points to is a culture of unhealthily proactive deadly force and strong arm tactics emerging from the shadows—and a burning need for reassessment. It’s well known that African Americans garner a disproportionate amount of law enforcement’s attention. Now, studies suggest that police officers are more likely to shoot black men, and empirical evidence in recent months only back those claims up.