Hundreds marched in the “We Are Eric Garner” rally in New York on Wednesday, the five-year anniversary of his death.
What We Know:
- This was following the decision Tuesday by the Justice Department to not charge the officers involved in the senseless killing of Garner, including NYPD officer David Pantaleo, who put the 43-year-old black man in a chokehold.
Garner was accused of selling single cigarettes outside a store on Staten Island when Pantaleo attempted to arrest him. Pantaleo then threw Garner to the ground and held him around the head and neck, causing him to suffocate to death.
Organizers linked arms and help up signs “#firepantaleo and all cops involved in #Eric Garner” and “Justice for Eric Garner” as they marched to the NYPD headquarters. The family members of Garner, including his mother, Gwen Carr, and a cousin, Dolores Duke, led the march.
- Carr spoke to the crowd later in the march and urged New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to fire the officers involved in her son’s death. “You have the power,” Carr said. “Assert your power.”
- She also had a list of demands after the decision to not charge the officers which include “Pantaleo be fired without a ‘good guy letter’ and without non-mandatory benefits, that the NYPD schedule a disciplinary trial and fire Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, the officer in charge of the 2014 crime scene and that the NYPD bring discipline charges against and fire all the officers who engaged in misconduct related to the Garner case.” There has been no comment yet if these demands will be met.
- However, De Blasio has said that Pantaleo is entitled to due process under state law and that all will be decided on Aug. 31 by Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
- “It’s unclear to me how five years later, we still have Pantaleo on the police force,” New York State Senator Brian Benjamin said. “It’s as if nothing happened, and I think it’s wrong.”
- The march was led by the organizations “Make the Road New York’s Youth Power Project” (an organization that empowers immigrant and working class communities) and “Communities United for Police Reform” (a movement that focuses on ending abusive and harsh policing).
Eric Garner deserves to be treated with respect.