There’s this sophomoric joke from the “Fat Albert” cartoon series I heard as a kid that still makes me laugh. “What do you and summer vacation have in common?” one of Albert’s friends asks another. “Noooo claassss!” And that accurately describes Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and his characteristically callous comments about Eric Garner.

You had a 350-pound person who is resisting arrest. The police were trying to bring him down as quickly as possible. If he had not had asthma and a heart condition and was so obese most definitely he would not have died from this. The police had no reason to know that he was in serious condition. You know, people are saying that he said 11 times or seven times “I can’t breathe.” Well, the fact is that if you can’t breathe you can’t talk.

King spewed this ugliness hours after a Staten Island grand jury yesterday decided not to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the July death of Garner. Nevermind his death was captured on video. Nevermind Garner repeatedly said “I can’t breathe.” Nevermind his death was ruled a homicide because of a chokehold. Nevermind chokeholds are a violation of NYPD policy.

The entire nation is left wondering: What does it take to hold a police officer accountable in the death of a citizen? And that question takes on heightened significance when that citizen is African American and part of a horrific list of black men and boys who have died at the hands of law enforcement and others. “African American men are being taught a lesson about how this society values, or devalues, our lives,” writes Eugene Robinson about the grand jury’s decision in his Thursday column.

Former chief judge of New York State Sol Wachtler gave us the revelatory observation that prosecutors could get a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” Michael Steele, the first African American to head the Republican National Committee, put Wachtler’s memorable phrase into stark perspective yesterday on MSNBC. “[C]learly a black man’s life is not worth a ham sandwich when you put these stories together.” I have nothing further to add.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj