Well, Jimmy O’Neill gets to keep his badge. Pity it means more to him than the integrity of the New York Police Department he leads, in a manner of speaking.
The commissioner dropped the hammer on scapegoat-cop Daniel Pantaleo Monday, bringing an ostensible end to the city’s five-year-long Eric Garner ordeal.
But it would be a mistake to think of the affair as concluded. In many important respects, it has just begun.
First, and briefly, some detail:
On July 14, 2014, the last day of his life, Eric Garner of Staten Island undertook to become a cop-fighter. That’s a risky enterprise for anyone — as it must be, because to resist arrest is to challenge fundamentally the authority of a city to keep its streets safe, and such confrontations are only going to end one way: with order restored.
For Eric Garner — a severely asthmatic diabetic with a failing heart — the day ended in the medical examiner’s office, a personal tragedy but hardly anyone’s fault other than his own. And this remains true even though much of New York’s political establishment has been declaiming otherwise ever since.
Bob McManus is a contributing editor of City Journal. He retired as editorial page editor of the New York Post in 2013 and has since worked as a freelance editor, columnist, and writer.
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