Jeff Toobin: I'm not saying the DA buried the Garner case to get in good with conservatives, but...

Ideally, if you don’t want to promote conspiracy theories, the safest course is to avoid conspiracy theorizing on the air.

That was not the course that CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin took on Thursday while discussing a New York City grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner.


In the above clip, Toobin is asked to give America a bit of an overview of the borough of Staten Island where Garner was killed and where the grand jury poll was selected.

“It is by far the smallest, the whitest, the most politically conservative of the boroughs,” he observed. “And the home of many police officers.”

You can already guess where Toobin is going with this.

“Important to this story is the fact that the district attorney there, Daniel Donovan, is an elected official,” Toobin continued. “So he answers to that constituency.”

… oh boy.

“You know, I don’t want to create a conspiracy here that he buried this case because he wants to ingratiate himself with a conservative electorate, but it is certainly a factor to be considered when you think about how this case resolved itself,” Toobin continued.

For a bit more background, Staten Island is not so conservative that its voters didn’t turnout to re-elect Barack Obama in 2012 by 51 to 48 percent. Moreover, if the implication here is that conservatives are so predisposed to be deferential toward the police, this certainly was not reflected in the reaction of conservatives nationwide to grand jury’s decision.

Allahpundit compiled a roundup of reactions to the decision in the Garner death case and discovered that the right was pretty uniformly aghast over the decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in spite of the fact that he used a prohibited choke hold to subdue Garner and that his death was later ruled a homicide.


Finally, if Toobin’s contention here is that Donovan’s political career would be best served by pandering to a population of police residents by throwing this case, it would seem to be a shortsighted course for any political figure to take given that the case may ultimately end up in the hands of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. That may actually support Toobin’s contention because the stupidity required of any DA to indulge in that kind of corruption would probably also mean that he lacks the ability to foresee that his actions would ignite a national firestorm.

In any case, this was probably not the smartest conjecture for Toobin to engage in on the air. It’s fanciful and conspiratorial, and needlessly insulting to the residents of Staten Island who could not possibly be happy to see this kind of police brutality go unpunished; thin blue line, or no.

An earlier version of this post indicated that the chokehold used on Garner was “illegal.” It is more accurately a practice prohibited by the NYPD.

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