Charles Barkley Defends NYPD Chokehold on Eric Garner

Charles Barkley, Eric Garner

Charles Barkley Defends NYPD Chokehold on Eric Garner

NBA Hall of Famer says man's death wasn't a homicide.

Published December 4, 2014

On Wednesday afternoon, a grand jury decided not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the July death of Staten Island, New York, resident Eric Garner, despite a video showing the cop bringing the larger man down with the use of a chokehold.

Before the decision was reached, CNN had an opportunity to speak to Charles Barkley about the controversial story and the NBA Hall of Famer doesn't think Garner's death was a murder. 

“I don’t think that was a homicide,” Barkley told CNN's Brooke Baldwin on Tuesday. “I think the cops were trying to arrest him, and they got a little aggressive. I think excessive force, something like that. Brooke, if the cops are trying to arrest you [and] you fight back, things go wrong. I don’t think they were trying to kill Mr. Garner. He was a big man, and they tried to get him down. I don’t see how you go to murder in that situation. It went horribly wrong.”

A large portion of New Yorkers believe that Wednesday's non-indictment ruling was wrong, as they protested through the night at various locations around the city. But Barkley is sticking to his opinion.

Sir Charles also weighed in on last week's controversial non-indictment ruling of cop Darren Wilson over the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. 

“The true story came out from the grand jury testimony,” Barkley said during an interview with a Philadelphia radio station. “Three or four witnesses, who were Black, said exactly what the cop said. We have to be really careful with the cops, because if it wasn’t for the cops we would be living in the Wild, Wild West in our neighborhoods.”

Barkley has received plenty of backlash — especially via social media outlets — for his controversial viewpoints on both deaths involving police officers. Fellow "Inside The NBA" analyst and friend Kenny Smith even penned an open letter to Barkley on Wednesday about his opinions on Ferguson and the riots in the aftermath of last week's non-indictment.

Smith might have to pen another letter to Barkley about Garner's death.

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(Photo: Adriana M. Barraza /

Written by BET-Staff


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