On Dec. 3, a grand jury in Staten Island returned a no true bill in the matter of the death of Eric Garner, who was killed by NYPD officer Daniel Pantoleo on July 17.

At about 5:00 p.m. EDT on July 17, Garner was allegedly selling bootlegged cigarettes in the Tompkinsville area of Staten Island, N.Y. This fact was disputed by multiple witnesses, who said he had instead been trying to break up a fight between two people who left the scene before police arrived. A video of the interaction between Garner and police shows Garner shouting, “Why you touching me? I didn’t sell anything! I was breaking up a fight!” More than five officers took Garner to the ground, and Pantoleo maintained a chokehold on Garner well after he lost consciousness. Garner said, “I can’t breathe!,” several times before losing consciousness. The police called an ambulance for him, but it was too late. The New York City medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide on Aug. 1, finding that while Garner’s poor health was a contributing factor to his death, the actions of police officers were the primary cause of death.

This case demonstrates that while cameras on police are statistically shown to lower police use of force and citizen complaints against police, they alone will not stop police abuse. Nor are recordings apparently enough to overcome the biases inherent in the grand jury system. That being said, it is not clear whether the officers knew their actions against Garner were being filmed, and they may have acted differently if they had been wearing cameras.

The decision today also illustrates why the state should not have a monopoly on criminal justice. The other officers involved were given immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony. As the state has a monopoly on criminal justice, this means that any criminal responsibility on their part will likely go unpunished. Note also that their testimony likely supported Officer Pantoleo, as the rational self-interest of a police officer is to support another police officer. As for Pantoleo, a government agent being tried in a government court by a government prosecutor is a conflict of interest if ever there was one. And unlike the Michael Brown case, there is clear video evidence of the events that took place, leaving little room for doubt about the criminality of the officer. The saying is that a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich, and an indictment could have been obtained if the prosecutor had so desired. If there were a free market for criminal justice, outcomes like this would be far less likely, as the victim’s family could choose from a number of competing service providers, each seeking to provide the best justice for the crime committed.

The prosecutor did not even present all viable charges. In New York, “A person is guilty of murder in the first degree when: With intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of such person or of a third person; and the defendant acted in an especially cruel and wanton manner pursuant to a course of conduct intended to inflict and inflicting torture upon the victim prior to the victim’s death, and the defendant was more than eighteen years old at the time of the commission of the crime.” A reasonable person would be expected to know that keeping someone in a chokehold after they lose consciousness is an act that can cause death, and that one does not perform an act that one knows can cause death without an intent to cause death. A reasonable person would also be expected to know that choking out a person who has not damaged any person or property despite the person’s health problems and protests of being unable to breathe is “an especially cruel and wanton manner pursuant to a course of conduct intended to inflict and inflicting torture upon the victim.” In another case earlier this year, a man pleaded guilty to first degree murder charges in New York for choking someone to death, so there is legal precedent for such a charge.