Thousands march in New York City to protest police killings

BY Elisabeth Ponsot  August 23, 2014 at 3:05 PM EST
he Reverend Al Sharpton (C) marches with protesters at a rally against police brutality in memory of Eric Garner August 23, 2014 in Staten Island, New York. The New York City medical examiner's office ruled that Garner, the 43-year-old father of six, died from a chokehold and chest compressions while being arrested by the police on July 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Stan Honda (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Reverend Al Sharpton marches with protesters at a rally against police brutality in memory of Eric Garner Aug. 23 in Staten Island, New York City. Credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

In the borough of Staten Island in New York City on Saturday, thousands marched to seek justice in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, who was killed by police on July 17.

In a case that has provoked widespread public outcry, a New York City Police Department officer used a chokehold to subdue the 43-year-old after detaining him for selling untaxed cigarettes. Garner later died as a result of the chokehold, a maneuver banned by the NYPD.

In an eyewitness video of the incident, Garner repeatedly says “I can’t breathe,” as one officer pulls Garner down to the ground.

Some marchers at the “We Will Not Go Back” rally carried “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” signs, in reference to the events surrounding the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old who was shot by police earlier this month in Ferguson, Missouri.

Brown, an African-American teenager, was also killed by a white police officer. His death sparked violent protests in the area for more than a week.

The Reverend Al Sharpton asked attendees at the Staten Island protest to remain nonviolent as he appealed for justice in Garner’s death.

“If you can do it to him, then you can do it to any citizen and we are not going to be silent when that happens,” Sharpton said at a pre-rally speech. “If you are too angry to be nonviolent, stay here at the church or go home.”

Esaw Garner, the widow of Eric Garner, echoed Sharpton’s call for peace.

“Let’s make this a peaceful march and get justice for my husband so that this doesn’t happen to anybody else,” she said.