Eric Garner RIP
The Rev. Al Sharpton on Saturday joined family members of a Staten Island man who died in police custody, in a rally calling for a full investigation.
Sharpton was joined by family members of Eric Garner, 43, at the National Action Network on West 145th Street.
A second rally was also held at the Mount Sinai Center for Community Enrichment on Jersey Street in Staten Island, followed by a march to the 120th Precinct police station, CBS 2′s Scott Rapoport reported.
An overcome Esaw Garner was escorted from the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network headquarters in Harlem, which was packed with hundreds of people. But Sharpton said Thursday’s death of 43-year-old Eric Garner while in custody could strain the black community’s relationship with the New York Police Department.
"This is going to be a real test to see where policies are in the city now and whether the change that we feel occurred has occurred," Sharpton said, referring to promises made by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton to improve the relationship between officers and the city’s minority communities. "We are the only ones in the social setup that has to deal with fear of cops and robbers."
Garner, who was black, was confronted by police trying to arrest him on suspicion of selling untaxed, loose cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk, authorities said. The 6-foot-3, 350-pound Garner became irate, denying the charges and refusing to be handcuffed before one of the officers placed him in what Bratton said appeared to be a chokehold, according to partial video of the encounter obtained by the New York Daily News.
The tactic, which can be fatal, is prohibited by departmental policy.
Ramsey Orta, who recorded a cell phone video of Garner’s arrest, told 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten he was worried the officers would turn on him for recording it.
Orta added that he’s happy he shot the video because “Now justice can be served.”
He said he believes had he not captured the arrest on video, there would be no investigation.
“It would have been swept right under the rug, right under the rug,” Orta said. “Ain’t nothing would of happened.”
Commissioner Bratton said on Friday the incident would be investigated within the NYPD.
“Choke holds are in fact prohibited by the New York City Police Department because of the concerns of potential death arising from them,” Bratton said.
A criminal investigation and an internal NYPD probe have been launched following Garner’s death. He does have a record of more than 30 arrests – mostly misdemeanors – for selling illegal cigarettes.
Esaw Garner earlier said she thought it was no excuse for the way her husband was treated. Their family has been left to care for six children without their father.
“My son, my son is missing his dad. He’s leaving for college on Aug. 5 on a full scholarship in basketball and his father didn’t get to see him,” she said.
1. Esaw Garner holds pic of her late husband as she sits with sons Emery (l.) and Eric. “They wouldn’t tell me anything,” she said of cops.
2. Mourners are pictured near chalk writing and a memorial on Bay Street where Eric Garner was killed after police went to arrest the 43-year-old man for selling untaxed cigarettes. Members of the Tompkinsville community say the harrassment by NYPD is becoming almost routine and do not feel safe. Friday July 18, 2014. (Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo)
3. Dozens of mourners gathered near a memorial on Bay Street where Eric Garner was killed on Friday July 18, 2014. (Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo)
4.Friends and members of the community gathered in Tompkinsville to mourn the loss of neighborhood fixture, Eric Garner.Friday July 18, 2014. (Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo)
5. Protesters gather to chant slogans in front of the 120th police precinct in St. George in response to the death of Eric “Big E” Garner. Garner died while being arrested by NYPD on Thursday. Saturday July 19, 2014. (Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo)
6. Hundreds of protesters march down Victory Boulevard in Tompkinsville and chant slogans with Rev. Al Sharpton to make their way to the 120th police precinct in St. George. July 19, 2014. (Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo)
7. A sign quotes the last words uttered by Eric Garner as protesters gather in front of the 120th police precinct in St. George in response to the death of Eric “Big E” Garner. Garner died while being arrested by NYPD on Thursday. Saturday July 19, 2014. (Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo)
8. Esaw Garner, wife of Eric Garner, breaks down in the arms of Rev. Herbert Daughtry, center, and Rev. Al Sharpton, right, during a rally at the National Action Network headquarters for Eric Garner, Saturday, July 19, 2014, in New York. Garner, 43, died Thursday, during an arrest in Staten Island, when a plain-clothes police officer placed him in what appeared be a choke hold while several others brought him to the ground and struggled to place him in handcuffs. JOHN MINCHILLO — AP Photo