Why did they decide to take him down in the first place? That’s not clear even in the video. The video of his death is unfortunately too short, and starts after the confrontation has already started. The narrator says he is being “beaten up” just for “breaking up a fight,” but that appears to be inaccurate. Garner starts off in the video showing anger that the police have confronted him repeatedly, over time, not just that day. He does not appear to be threatening anyone, and according to reports had in fact just stopped a fight between other people. So it’s not clear why the police elected to use force on him. A citation would probably have sufficed.

But a citation for what?

Garner was reportedly selling “loosies,” individual cigarettes taken out of their original packaging. That’s a crime?

Yep. Since 2010, that’s a crime, sayeth the unaccountable bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration.

An FDA rule issued on June 22, 2010 — well within the Obama era, under a president who has unleashed bureaucracy on the entire country — mandates that individual cigarettes cannot be sold without their original packaging. You must not sell an unhealthy product that everyone knows is unhealthy unless it’s still in the polluting box that it originally came in.