NYC's Chief Legal Official: How To Solve The Police "Use Of Force" Problem


Zachary Carter, chief legal officer for New York City under the de Blasio administration, joins Rachel Maddow.

ZACHARY CARTER, NYC CORPORATION COUNSEL: The response from the police commissioner was immediate and it was unequivocal. He said he believed from his viewing of the tape that the hold that was administered to Eric Garner was a prohibited choke hold. All right? He said that in a way that was unqualified. So there's no question that there will be a fair and thoughtful review of the conduct of the officers who were involved in the confrontation.

But most importantly, because at least in my view and I think in the view of the mayor and the police commissioner, what's most important is making sure an incident like that doesn't happen again. And when you think about the fact that this confrontation was set up over the enforcement of a fairly low-level offense, the question becomes is that the kind of offense for which we want people arrested or served with a summons?

Every single arrest requires at the very least handcuffing. That means a police officer is going to have to lay hands on someone, and sometimes people are just not in the mood. It doesn't mean that people should resist, and it doesn't mean that people shouldn't submit to the authority of the police when they're trying to do their job.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: But it is a use of force.

CARTER: But it is a use of force and there's always the potential for escalation. So if we take, as we have both in the area of enforcement of low-level marijuana offenses and a variety of other offenses, if we take broad categories of offenses representing thousands of potential arrests off the board, as potential dangerously escalating conflicts. Then we've already gone a long way toward reducing the possibility of another Eric Garner situation.

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