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John Jay professor says cop didn’t use ‘excessive force’ in Eric Garner arrest

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- While Eric Garner’s family lays him to rest and calls intensify for change within the NYPD, not everyone is convinced the officer's use of force on video rises to the level of excessive.

It’s not a popular opinion and Garner’s supporters are quick to explain why.

“If a civilian on the street was to murder somebody, they’d be in jail doing twenty five to life. That’s what these cops deserve. Nothing less,” remarked one of Garner’s friends.

But Maki Haberfeld, professor of police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says in her view the officers followed proper protocol.

“I see them following the continuum of force. Going by the book, so to speak. Unfortunately, as bad as it looks to somebody, who views the use of force, I always emphasize the force looks very ugly,” said Professor Haberfeld.

The “Use of Force Continuum."

Remember that term, because you’re going to hear it a lot as the Garner case unfolds.

As defined by the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the US Justice Department, the continuum is a set of policies that “describes an escalating series of actions an officer may take to resolve a situation.”

“Pain Compliance” is a stage along the continuum.

Professor Haberfeld says investigators will ultimately have to determine if NYPD officer Dan Pantaleo’s hold on Garner was an accepted “Pain Compliance technique” or an illegal chokehold.

And if you’re wondering whether a Taser, the next stage along the “Use Of Force Continuum," would have led to a non-fatal encounter, former NYPD officer and security consultant Sal Lifrieri (Twitter @slifrieri) warns the device is not a perfect solution.

If you have someone with a medical condition, that may aggravate the situation. So there are risks and rewards on both sides, and it's use is closely monitored, which is why the New York city police department is utilizing it for supervisors, said Lifrieri.



  • Mr. Black

    “Maria (Maki) Haberfeld is a Professor of Police Science, in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. She was born in Poland and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. She served in the Israel Defense Forces in a counter-terrorist unit and left the army at the rank of a sergeant. Prior to coming to John Jay she served in the Israel National Police and left the force at the rank of lieutenant”-from John Jay website. Exactly how does this make her an expert on the NYPD Patrol Guide?

    • t

      she is not an expert on the nypd patrol guide however she is an expert In law enforcement, various agencies as well as the military use the force continuum. she is giving a viewpoint based on expertise in her field. one does not have to be an expert on the nypd patrol guide to give background info.I guess after watching the renzo gracie brothers give their opinions on the situation; you would say the same thing ? that their views are invalid because they are not experts on the nypd patrol guide. however,they are professionals in mixed martial arts particularly bjj and know all about all types of holds, take downs and choke holds.

    • HHD

      Corey Pegues was a do nothing, know nothing of the very department he worked for (NYPD) – and he is far from an expert in ANYTHING!

  • Hotta

    with a resume like that working in those areas nothing will look like excessive force to her. That’s the normal behaviour she’s used to she wouldn’t see it because she’s so desensitized and blind. A person getting thrown on the ground and kicked in the head wouldn’t be considered excessive force by Maki either. She’s such a lamo who is just trying to get attention.

  • nypd01

    As an Adjunct Instructor at a South Florida University, and retired member of the NYPD, the maneuver used by Police Officer Pantaleo on Mr. Garner was not a Choke-Hold. To effectively use a Choke-Hold, one must be of equal or taller height than the person the hold is to be used. In this case, the officer was considerably shorter than Garner and the take down of Mr. Garner was standard procedure in the continuum of force in that Pantaleo grabbed Garner by the neck to bring him to the ground. The Medical Examiner already stated that Garner had no injury to his neck which he would undoubtedly have if the Choke-Hold was used properly. The saddest part of this incident is twofold, Garner died during resisting the police and Police Officer Pantaleo will lose his job and career due to Community Pressure.

    • IncognitoEthos

      I agree with your statement. I was thinking the same thing. I also thought a choke hold had to be a solid grip around the opposite wrist and that just wasn’t the case in the videos shown.

      Again, I say that if people don’t want these types of issues, then don’t resist the instructions of the officers. They were giving him instructions and he kept arguing and then when they tried to put his arms behind his back to handcuff him, he yanked free repeatedly, demanding that they don’t touch him.

      As I said before, it is sad for the loss of a life but it didn’t have to happen if he had complied. Officers put their own lives on the line daily for strangers so how can anyone fault them for reacting more aggressively when someone becomes belligerent? Those officers want to get home to their families too. If they under react, then they have the potential to be harmed or for other innocent people to be harmed.

      Had the suspect simply complied, not only would the officers have gone home safely to their families, but the suspect would have as well. Instead, he lays in a coffin, his children losing their father due to the bad choices he made, not due to the NYPD.

  • Truthsayer

    Eric, her comments are about as on point as it gets. That is EXACTLY how every police officer in this country is trained.

  • IncognitoEthos

    For both this case and the Ronald Johns case, what I find more disturbing is that both the “victims” were resisting arrest and not following police instructions. It must be their upbringing because I was always told to do as an officer says and if an officer says for me to put my hands behind my back, I do it. It wasn’t like these two guys were in isolated, dark places where they feared that after the cuffs were put on and despite remaining compliant, they would be beaten and helpless to defend themselves. There were people all around and some with cameras.

    Sad for a loss of life, but if you don’t want to get in a tussle with the police and end up either injured or worse, then comply with their instructions…or better yet, don’t do things that can get them called on you!

  • Jay

    Though everyone has very valid points with their comments here, has anyone stopped to think about why Mr. Garner was resisting arrest? Or that fact that the NYPD knew Mr. Garner as a man who sold loose, untaxed cigarettes on the streets daily? Yes, selling loose, untaxed cigarettes is probably one of the most petty crimes anyone can perform, but it is STILL INDEED A CRIME! If Mr. Garner was so innocent and had nothing to hide, he should’ve let the NYPD officers arrest him without a fight and he could’ve battled it out with the City of New York through the justice system to prove himself innocent. The motto of the story is not to be a criminal and you will not have to deal with the NYPD or any other law enforcement organization on a daily basis. Some people are just blind to crime and feel that when a criminal is detained that he was treated “unfairly” or whatever. Yes, unfortunately Mr. Garner died but it was a freak accident and once again, the bottom line is not to put yourself in a situation where you have a police officers’ hands around your neck.

  • Luis Debee Fonseca

    You resist Arrest, you will pay the price. I have a clean record and I’m 50, can anyone guess why? Because I live a clean life, I don’t feel sorry for people who live by the sword, who love the criminal life, why? because they made a choice. I’m tired of these videos about Police Brutality, if your Civil Rights are being violated and you’re in the right, don’t resist, get a lawyer and file a lawsuit. If you resist, stop crying foul play! Too many good cops are dying in the hands of thugs with no concern of human life.

    • IncognitoEthos

      I agree 100%! I am 40 and have never, EVER felt the cuffs of an officer, never been arrested and have never had a truly bad experience with police in general. I’ve met one…ONCE that thought he was the $h!t but once I was able to calmly and respectfully pull out a rulebook for a particular vehicle I was driving, showing that what I was doing wasn’t wrong, he really had no choice but to stop the argument. Now, if he had wanted to insist he was right, then I wouldn’t have resisted, would have followed instructions and would have found a lawyer later.

      I’m glad to see there more out there than just me who thinks this way.

      And just to make this statement: I think Al Sharpton needs to SHUT HIS MOUTH and stop making his money off the backs of BOTH the law enforcement agencies and the people they may or may not have truly harmed.

  • frank

    NYPD patrol guide states that grabbing or holding a perpetrator by the throat is prohibited. The officer did not choke garner but he did use a prohibited, not illegal method in taking down garner. Garner resisted and the officers pursued with necessary force to take down someone double their size. It comes down to the need for better training methods and priority in choosing what illegal actions call for what reactions. Selling cigarettes is not a dangerous situation that called for this.

    • IncognitoEthos

      While I don’t completely disagree with you entirely, the problem isn’t so much of training I think, nor is it that they need to choose what illegal actions warrant what reactions. If the illegal action is to be handled with an arrest, then that is what needs to happen. The bottom line is, the suspect shouldn’t have resisted arrest. When resistance happens, at that point, no matter the crime-be it selling loosies or shooting a person- there is no determining what the suspect will do, how far he will go and therefore all resisting arrests should be treated the same; as if someone’s life could be put in harms way…because it could be. It’s just a toss-up of WHO’S life is at risk: the officers or another innocent person.

      And I think I’m going to add this to my signatures from now on:

      Al Sharpton needs to shut-up and stop making his money off the backs of law enforcement and the people they may or may not have truly harmed.

  • D

    Are you all kidding me??? I have had a run in with the cops in the past, myself and for some reason, they wanted me to get into their car! Of course, I told them what for?! Only one male came out the car instead of the two that was sitting in the car. Then he proceeded to come towards me and I backed up with my hands in the air,stating if you don’t have a female cop in that car, you cannot touch me!!! I had nothing illegal on me and they had other plans!! I also told them that this can be reported to the Federal Government! !! I only wanted to go to the store! My point is that you do not put your hands on no one until you are sure and get it on tape! Did anyone mentioned that he was saying “I can’t breathe” ? Also, about the knee to the head and the delayed response of the medics? Wow, how callous you all are!! Then they (cops) are standing around like they took down a prized bull while that man was laying there dying!!! WOW Now, the man is in the grave!!! Do anyone get the fact that WAS excessive force being that he is dead!!!! Duh! It was TOO damn much!!! I saw a whole lot of testosterone flying!!! What did you see?!!!! And those that never had a run in with the cops, good for you! But for those that did, we know better!!

  • D

    Remember Mr.Diallo . 41 shots over a wallet and 15 had hit him. Now was THAT excessive or no!! Anytime ANYONE loses a life, it is Excessive! !!! And the people that took THAT man’s life is walking around on the street but the jury said that it wasn’t. REALLY!!!!

  • EJ

    D, I agree with you on having a female officer present, especially if a search is involved and with it being excessive in the Diallo case. but with Mr. Garner, it’s a shame a life was lost, but he resisted. It clearly shows in his body language, he had no intention of cooperating. did you notice when he adjusted his pants, if you have ever been it a fight, that’s a clear sign the the person is ready to throw down, like when a cobra spreads it’s hood. I feel sorry for his family that he is gone, but his actions caused him to be in that position. I was born and raised in NY and have lived out west and down south. I have had my share of talks with law enforcement in NY and Jersey and Lousiana, Ga. Tx. Tenn and Oklahoma. As a black man, every time I’ve been somewhere , it’s always the same advice, watch out, the cops here are racist . The funny thing is, the people who tell me that. have a history of who knows what, but I’ve been pulled over and have had to deal with these “racist” cops, yet in my 40 years, have never had an issue. Point is, if you cooperate, which means, your making them feel at ease, you won’t have an issue. The men and woman who patrol out streets just want to get home to their families, unharmed, if you make them feel like going to threaten that, they will react, and that’s your choice, for acting a fool…, and there are consequences for that.

    • IncognitoEthos

      I agree with you EJ and appreciate you giving examples from your own personal experiences. I’m not black, but I’ve still heard the same things where ever I’ve lived, “Oh the cops out here are really bad” and yet…I’ve yet to run into one. It is very much how you present yourself and treat them. They are human also and on some level are fearful that their run in with you could very well be their last if they aren’t cautious.

      And I think I’m going to add this to my signatures from now on:

      Al Sharpton needs to shut-up and stop making his money off the backs of law enforcement and the people they may or may not have truly harmed.

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