Christie Hedges His Bets on Garner Killing

I noted yesterday with some hope the possibility that the Eric Garner killing might lead to a bipartisan push for criminal justice reform.

Clearly Chris Christie isn’t going to take a single political risk on this subject (per the Wall Street Journal‘s Metropolis blog):

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday he wouldn’t “second guess” the New York City grand jury that declined to indict a police officer in the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner.

The remarks came amid protests across the U.S. over Wednesday’s decision.

Mr. Christie criticized politicians who wade into grand jury cases, noting his experience as New Jersey U.S. attorney.

“I’m not going to second guess that work,” Mr. Christie said at a news conference during a visit to Canada. “As someone who ran a prosecuting office for seven years before I became governor, one of the things I learned is that you never know all the things that a grand jury knows, unless you’re in that grand jury and working with them.”

Former prosecutors, of course, are precisely the kind of people who ought to be commenting on this development since they are the ones who so often “work with”–to use Christie’s euphemism for “manipulating” or “telling them what to do”–grand juries. It’s a gutless move by Christie, but about what we’ve come to expect when his target’s not public employees.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.