Rev. Al Sharpton and the family of Eric Garner are determined to protest the police-killing of 43-year-old Eric Garner despite bureaucratic restrictions forbidding a march over the Verrazano Bridge. He abandoned his plan to march across the structure and is now calling for protesters to “get on the bus” to Staten Island.
The Aug. 23 demonstration was revised from a march across the Verrazano Bridge to what is now being tagged a “Justice Caravan” in order to comply with NYPD guidelines.
Logistical concerns were raised last week after Sharpton announced he would lead a protest across the structure.
Reportedly, in order to facilitate such an endeavor, the NYPD would have to provide a walkway along the thoroughfare that would not impede traffic and any other activity on the bridge. For that to be effective a permit would have to be approved and the timely bureaucratic procedure could not be guaranteed by the scheduled Aug. 23 date set by the activist protest leader.
“Our goal is not to slow folks down our goal is to speed justice up.” Rev. Sharpton said.
On the 25th anniversary of the murder of Yusuf Hawkins in Bensonhurst, bus and car loads of protesters against police brutality will ride into Staten Island and ultimately stop at the spot Garner was killed by aggressive police tactics and a choke-hold.
The leader of the National Action Network announced the finalized plans for the justice seeking protest saying the movement will be tagged “We Will Not Go Back.”
The reference could be a nostalgic reminder of the weekly protest marches Sharpton and his NAN organization mobilized through Bensonhurst, Brooklyn a quarter of a century ago to seek justice for the racial killing of Hawkins who was a mere teenager when he was confronted and killed.
Since July 17, the date Garner was killed and left dead on a sidewalk as EMT technicians stood looking at his body, Sharpton’s organization has actively advocated for the family.
Taped recordings of his voice revealed Garner pleaded for air.
On the tape, he was heard in a strained tone saying “I can’t breathe.”
Eleven times he repeated that plea as police officer Daniel Pantaleo continued to restrain him by wrapping his entire arm around the neck of the six feet three inch tall asthmatic.
Reportedly, the Staten Island precinct accounts for a disproportionate amount of lawsuits filed against the NYPD for police brutality and an equally alarmingly amount of city payouts and settlements due to lawsuits filed against the NYPD.
Allegedly, police stopped the father of six, Garner and in a videotaped release is heard complaining that he wanted to be left alone. In the video Garner claimed the police frequently harass him and clearly states he was not doing anything illegal when they stopped him.
Police said otherwise. It is their claim that Garner sold loose, untaxed cigarettes and was told to surrender but instead resisted arrest.
Using the choke-hold to restrain citizens has been outlawed by the NYPD for more than two decades.
According to the revised routing method, “justice caravans” of buses and cars will meet at the spot Garner fell to the ground after being restrained by an illegal chokehold. The New York City medical examiner ruled that Garner died from the chokehold and the compression of his chest.
Afterwards, protesters will march to the office of the Staten Island district attorney, Daniel M. Donovan Jr.
Garner’s widow, Esaw said it is her family’s hope that justice will prevail, “so that people don’t forget that Eric was a victim of brutality, homicide.”