JUROR NO. 1: Alright, everyone, settle down. We have to make a decision on the Eric Garner case. Now, we’ve all seen the video of this unfortunate tragedy. The cop put him in an illegal choke hold, and despite the fact he was pleading ‘I can’t breathe”, the cop continued to apply pressure. And as we all know, Mr. Garner died. Clearly, we have to take some kind of action against the officer, agreed?

JUROR NO. 2: Agreed.

JUROR NO. 3: Agreed.

JUROR NO. 4: Agreed.

JUROR NO. 5: Agreed.

JUROR NO. 6: I agree as well. I mean, the evidence is overwhelming. But I think we should be careful, here. I mean, I think calling it a homicide would be a little extreme, don’t you think?

JUROR NO. 2: You’ve got a point there. We don’t want to look like this is just a knee jerk reaction to that Michael Brown case in Ferguson, do we? I mean, these are New York City cops we’re talking about here, not some hayseeds with military equipment in Mississippi.

JUROR NO. 2: Missouri.

JUROR NO. 2: Whatever. My point is, let’s not overreact. I say homicide is off the table.

JUROR NO. 3: Well, OK, but we have to consider manslaughter.

JUROR NO. 1: Oh, I agree. Absolutely. Unquestionably. But y’know, you can see the victim —

JUROR NO. 2: Alleged victim.

JUROR NO. 1: I stand corrected. The alleged victim does put up a bit of a fight. I don’t now about you, but if a cop says to me, ‘come with me, pal, you’re under arrest’, I put my hands behind my back and wait for the cuffs, you know what I mean?

JUROR NO. 5: That’s a good point. If he has just gotten into the squad car as he was told, none of this would have happened.

JUROR NO. 3: Actually, if he hadn’t been selling cigarettes illegally, none of this would have happened.

JUROR NO. 2: Good point. He was the author of his own misfortune, in many ways.

JUROR NO. 1: Exactly. And should a cop be liable for just doing his job?

JUROR NO. 3: Right. These guys are heroes.

JUROR NO. 2: I thought firefighters were heroes.

JUROR NO. 3: Cops, too. And military people.

JUROR NO. 4: Agreed. And may I just add EMTs as well?

JUROR NO. 3: OK, cops, firefighters, the military and EMTs.

JUROR NO. 5: OK, everybody’s a hero. But back to my point. The guy shouldn’t have resisted arrest. I mean, he actually stepped back and made the ‘get away from me’ gesture. That’s just asking for trouble.

JUROR NO. 2: And how was the cop supposed to know that a choke hold could kill a guy? I mean, I used to play something called the pass out game when I was in school where you chocked a guy, and he fainted. Nobody ever died.

JUROR NO. 5: I remember that. What a blast! But let’s be fair, here. The guy said ‘I can’t breathe’.

JUROR NO. 3: Could have been a ruse. If the cop let go, who knows what might have happened? He might have been shot.

JUROR NO. 1: But the guy was unarmed.

JUROR NO. 3: The cop didn’t know he was unarmed, did he? He could have had an  automatic pistol in his pocket. Let’s be honest, most New Yorkers have a gun.

JUROR NO. 1: That’s true. I’m armed right now.

JUROR NO. 3: Really. What are you packing?

JUROR NO. 1: A Glock.

JUROR NO. 3: Sweet.

JUROR NO. 3: Exactly my point. I didn’t know you were armed. This Eric guy could easily have been armed.

JUROR NO. 4: OK, so the cop was taking reasonable precautions under the circumstances. He was faced with a very large bla-

JUROR NO. 2: Careful!

JUROR NO. 4: A very large MAN, who may or may not have been armed, and who was engaged in a criminal act. The more I look at this, the more I think the cop was just doing his job, and something went wrong. Can we maybe just go with excessive force?

JUROR NO. 6: Was it? Did you SEE the size of that guy? It was like roping a steer in a rodeo.

JUROR NO. 1: And, let’s be brutally honest here; the guy was a heart attack waiting to happen.

JUROR NO. 3: Exactly. I had a big fat uncle who dropped dead one day, just like that. Coulda happened to this guy, too.

JUROR NO. 1: OK, let’s recap. A New York City cop, just doing his job, sees a crime in progress. He attempts to arrest the perp, who unwisely resists arrest. In the course of the ensuing struggle, the criminal expires. So …. no charges?

JUROR NO. 2: Agreed.

JUROR NO. 3: Agreed.

JUROR NO. 4: Agreed.

JUROR NO. 5: Agreed.

JUROR NO. 6: I agree as well. Now, to something much more controversial … what to order for lunch.


One thought on “Inside the New York grand jury room: the leaked transcript

  1. Bang on, Maurice. While I empathise with the challenges faced by police in the course of their duties, it seems to me that we collectively rationalise away some very dodgy behaviour. The taser death of Robert Dziekanski is another great example of very poor decision making that should have been criminal from the beginning.

    A very effective piece.

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