Bridge protest over NYC man's arrest death to proceed

NEW YORK Sat Aug 9, 2014 1:24pm EDT

Reverend Al Sharpton arrives to speak before attending the funeral of Eric Garner in New York July 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Reverend Al Sharpton arrives to speak before attending the funeral of Eric Garner in New York July 23, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A march to protest the death of a New York City man in police custody will go ahead later this month on Staten Island, organizers said, although plans to walk over the bridge linking the island to the rest of the city have been scrapped.

Reverend Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist behind the march, said on Saturday that protesters would drive in a caravan of cars and buses from Brooklyn to the point where Eric Garner, 43, died last month while being arrested by police.

City officials said it was not safe for demonstrators to cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on foot.

"Our goal is not to slow folks down," Sharpton said, referring to the heavy traffic expected for the August 23 protest. "Our goal is to speed justice up."

Garner, 43, died while he was being detained by New York police on suspicion of illegally peddling untaxed cigarettes.

A police officer put him in a choke hold - banned by the New York Police Department more than 20 years ago - and other officers restrained him in a way that compressed his chest as he was being arrested, according to the medical examiner.

His arrest was captured on video, triggering outrage and raising questions about police use of force.

Police have said Garner was resisting arrest.

The protest route will take demonstrators over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which is more than two miles long, to the spot in Staten Island where the incident took place.

They will then march to the offices of the Staten Island district attorney, Daniel Donovan Jr., to demand that an investigation into Garner's death be taken over by federal prosecutors, Sharpton said.

In recent days, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was elected in part on his promise to mend frayed relations between police and citizens, continues to be dogged by questions about the NYPD.

On Friday, the mayor announced he will meet with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of New York, and other religious leaders later this month in an effort to improve relations between police and New Yorkers.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Lynne O'Donnell)

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Comments (5)
MunchHausen wrote:
This race-baiter creates more racism at every turn. I will cheer his passing. Perhaps then we can start to focus on and solve what really ails the black community.

Aug 09, 2014 3:21pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
big_tower wrote:
He did not rally to protest the near death beating of a white man by a black mob in Detroit. Guess there was not any profitable cause there. Instead of helping Black People he causes people to look at them as racist and privileged. What a bozo. Raccoon looking jerk.

Aug 09, 2014 4:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SoutherRican wrote:
This is not about civil rights, it is more about funding. Where it have been a White man who died in the same fashion, we would not even hear a word from him. If the person in question would have obeyed directions given to him by police officers he would be alive today, so he is not with clean hands. My problem, is some minorities to include my own people for some reason want to equal, but talk or act as if God himself made them entitled and supreme to others.

Aug 09, 2014 4:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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