Michael Brown Family To March In New York For Eric Garner, Man Killed By Cop Chokehold

08/20/2014 04:49 pm ET
  • Inae Oh Editor, HuffPost New York
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The parents of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, will attend a rally in support of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died after being placed in a chokehold by police last month.

Around 15,000 people are expected to attend the Saturday demonstration. Participants will start near the area where Garner was killed and will then head toward the Staten Island District Attorney's office to demand justice.

The march will symbolically link the deaths of Brown and Garner to shed light on harmful policing strategies and patterns of racism by police forces across the country.

"There's a pattern here. And the pattern is a predisposition toward disproportionate force, toward violence, on black men," Rev. Jesse Jackson told The Wall Street Journal during a telephone interview from Ferguson.

On Sunday, Sharpton joined Brown's parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, along with thousands of attendees at a protest in Ferguson, where he called Brown's death a "defining moment on how this country deals with policing." He also called upon police departments to end the use of military-style weapons.

Ferguson has seen violent encounters between protestors and the police since Brown's death on Aug. 9. Although Garner's death on July 17 provoked national outrage, rallies have remained relatively peaceful.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will not be attending Saturday's rally, but he urged participants to stay peaceful. He cited a 2012 march denouncing stop-and-frisk tactics as an example of what a successful, non-violent demonstration can do to bring about policy change.

"It was the decisive moment in crystalizing support for change in the stop-and-frisk policy," de Blasio said. "It was an absolutely peaceful demonstration that got its message out and there was absolute coordination between the police and protesters.

On Tuesday, Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan announced a special grand jury would convene to determine whether criminal charges should be brought in Garner's death, which was officially ruled a homicide by a medical examiner.

But Sharpton argued, as he has since Garner's death, that the federal government should instead head the investigation.

"I am in consultation with the lawyers and family on the announcement ... but we still maintain that we have asked the federal government to intervene in this case," Sharpton said, following the district attorney's statement. "This announcement does not impact our move for federal takeover of this case at all."

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