#EricGarner: Staten Island Protests Go Peacfully
Thousands of demonstrators marched through Staten Island today to urge police reform in the wake of the death of Eric Garner. Garner, an asthmatic, was killed on July 17 as police placed him in an illegal chokehold, while trying to arrest him under suspicion of selling individual cigarettes.
The march began on the corner where Garner was killed, and ended with a rally at the Staten Island District Attorney’s office. Rev. Al Sharpton was one of the main organizers.
“And if you can do it to him, you can do it to any citizen,” he said at a church service preceding the march. “We are not going to be silent while that happens.”
Many in the crowd drew parallels between Garner and the situation in Ferguson, MO, where police shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. Under the spectre of the clashes in that city, Sharpton and Garner’s family also urged attendees to remain peaceful. That seemed to hold; a light police presence was at the event, and no arrests were reported.
Garner’s struggle with police and his death was caught on a cellphone video. The coroner’s report has since ruled Garner’s death a homicide. Emergency workers were placed under investigation, and the DA has sent the case to a grand jury; but no charges have been filed against the officers who restrained Garner.
Demonstrators also criticized the broader “broken windows” policy of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Bill Bratton, which aggressively targets small crimes in the hopes of discouraging larger ones.
[via CBS News]