Even Bill O'Reilly Thinks Maybe Eric Garner Didn't Deserve To Be Choked To Death
Up is down, black is white, cats and dogs must be living together somewhere because Bill O'Reilly has finally heard of the death of a black man at the hands of a white cop that maybe wasn't justified.
On his Wednesday night show on Fox News, O'Reilly talked about the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for choking Eric Garner to death in what the coroner determined was a homicide. Of course O'Reilly first needed to mention that Garner was a "low-level street dealer of illegal cigarettes" who had a record and was out on probation. O'Reilly also prefaced his opinions by pointing out that he "does not know what happened and until we read the grand jury transcripts, which are sealed right now, nobody can know." That hasn't stopped "agitators from stirring up controversy," which is obviously very bad and wrong and irresponsible of them, because how do they know whether they are justified in their agitating and stirring based solely on watching the video of the killing of Garner, until they actually read the transcripts? Ugh.
Naturally, it's different for Bill O'Reilly, who has some opinions even though he knows it would be irresponsible to form any opinions until he personally has reviewed all the information. He's no agitator! And yet O'Reilly -- the Bill O'Reilly, who's never heard of a black person being killed by a cop who didn't totally deserve it -- has his doubts about whether, in this one-time only situation, maybe Eric Garner shouldn't be dead.
However, I will say that upon seeing the video that you just saw and hearing Mr. Garner say that he could not breathe, I was extremely troubled. I would have loosened my grip and desperately wish the officer would have done that. Eric Garner was obese, he had asthma, and he was in no condition to absorb what befell him. Yes, he should not have resisted, but all Americans, every one of us, should pity Mr. Garner and his family. He did not deserve what happened to him, and I think Officer Pantaleo and every other American police officer, every one, would agree with me. He didn’t deserve that.
We will now take precisely one second to express our reserved and highly skeptical praise of O'Reilly for being willing to concede that the killing of Eric Garner should not have happened.
Okay, second's over.
O'Reilly then discusses the matter with his guest, radio show host Tavis Smiley, and darned if O'Reilly doesn't feel journalistically compelled to "play devil's advocate."
"First of all, the chokehold is not illegal," he says. "It’s against department policy. It’s not illegal. … Against department policy is not a criminal offense." Well, that is a good point. The officer killed a man with a method that is merely against department policy, so it's not like a crime was committed here. Or at least that's what the devil would say.
"I’m with you that I saw what happened," O'Reilly continues, "and it was very troubling. I don’t think the police officer meant to kill Mr. Garner. I don’t think he went in with that. He meant to stop him from resisting arrest." Huh, that's funny, because didn't O'Reilly just say a moment ago that since we have yet to see the sealed grand jury transcripts, we can't actually know what happened that day? Ah, whatever.
"There's no way, Bill, that you could look at that video tape and come back with a no indictment," Smiley says. "Period." Smiley then rambles on about the devaluing of black lives in America and the broken system of grand juries, but that just causes O'Reilly to heave a heavy sigh.
"I want to hear from the grand jury," he says. Again, he says that because we have yet to see the evidence the grand jury saw, we can't really come to any conclusions yet, but here's his conclusion anyway.
"I suspect it has something to do with the man resisting arrest and the police officers trying to get him under control, and that the grand [sic] juries believe that they were not doing it in a malicious way, the intent wasn't what the outcome was." And in case you're one of those jump-to-conclusions agitators who thinks this has something to do with race just because of the strange coincidence of cops getting away with killing black people, like, all the time, well, O'Reilly, Certified Race Expert On Race, knows better.
"I think this would have happened to a white guy doing the same thing. I don't think it had to do with skin color. I think it had to do with poor judgments made by the group of police officers."
O'Reilly then explains some basic facts to Smiley about the number of blacks killed by cops in America versus the number of whites killed by cops, as well as some other fascinating demographics that prove "there isn't an epidemic of this," and then he just gets bored and annoyed at Smiley for continuing to insist that there is some kind of problem in America with cops killing blacks, when it's just so clear -- with math! -- that it's not really a problem, like, in a problematic sort of way because "statistics don't say there's a pattern."
Ah well. It was nice for that brief moment when O'Reilly was willing to admit even he was troubled by this one time that this one white cop got away with this one killing of this one man who happened to be black, which is not relevant to anything. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming of Bill O'Reilly being an ass.