Chokehold Death Case Report Leaves out the Chokehold

NYPD and a couple of officers are taking a lot of heat over a video in which an unarmed man is choked to death by officers. The police report written directly after the death of Eric Garner makes no mention that a chokehold was used, perhaps because their use had been banned by the department decades ago. It’s poor policework that leaves significant details out of reports, and it’s all too common. Police reports are frequently persuasion pieces, written to justify an arrest or other action, instead of simply informative recitations.

This struck a chord with me, as I just noted the fact that in the recent Cape Coral situation in which the defendants family has alleged excessive force; officers neglected to mention they had broken the suspects leg. Travis Robey’s father alleges that not only was the leg broken, but that he was beaten after being subdued, and that officers then made him walk on the broken leg. Officers summarized, simply, that he was checked at the hospital and medically cleared before being taken to jail. Written that way, without knowing the details, it sounds like they may just have had him checked for alcohol poisoning before they put him in a cell. Yada yada yada the medical treatment he receive due to the force employed by officers. Before the validity of the force can be analyzed, the true extent of the force must be disclosed.

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