8/22/14

The Eric Garner "We Will Not Go Back" Rally and March

By one estimate, 15,000 people are expected tomorrow in Staten Island to protest the July 17 killing of Eric Garner during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes at a bodega near Victory Boulevard.

The “We Will Not Go Back” rally and march, calling for further investigation into Garner’s death and an end to NYPD "cowboy cop" tactics, is scheduled to start from Victory Boulevard and Bay Street, near where Garner died, at 12 PM on Saturday, August 23, continuing to the District Attorney’s Office and then to the 120th Precinct house.

Marchers will arrive in Staten Island via the ferry from lower Manhattan and buses from Brooklyn, New Jersey, Connecticut and surrounding states.  

Some businesses along the route say they’ll close on Saturday.

The family of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old killed by police in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, bringing long-simmering racial tensions to a boil in a majority-black city run predominantly by whites, is expected to march in Staten Island tomorrow.

The event will symbolically link the deaths of Brown and Garner as examples of a national pattern of racist policing that has resulted in what the Rev. Jesse Jackson called a "predisposition toward disproportionate force, toward violence, on black men."

The Rev. Al Sharpton, whose National Action Network is coordinating Saturday’s march, said he’s determined that it will be peaceful. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will not attend.

Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan has convened a special grand jury to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against the NYPD officer who choked Garner. Sharpton has argued that the federal government should head the investigation.

Zephyr Teachout, challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic Primary on September 9, will be at the Staten Island rally to show solidarity with the marchers, saying that being black in America today means being at greater risk of being injured, shot or killed by police.

The public mourning for Eric Garner’s death, she said, is part of a call to end the kind of "horrible encounters" between blacks and police that left Eric Garner dead.  Teachout called the Garner case emblematic of bigger policing issues impacting young black men in America -- like Michael Brown.

Her campaign has released a policy statement on the militarization of police and how body cams can check cowboy cops. Body cams are also advocated by City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Tish James.

Details of the NYPD's crowd control plans for today's march, including street closures, indicate the kind of "penning" strategy seen in other large protests in New York City in recent years [CBS Local.]

Marchers on their way to the rally meet up in Bay Ridge [Staten Island Live.]

Live coverage of the event on Staten Island Live.

According to media accounts, the event was peaceful and orderly.

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