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."
BEFORE YOU GO
08/26/2014 7:49 AM EDT
The Toll On Michael Brown's Family
USA Today's Yamiche Alcindor provides an intimate look at how Michael Brown's parents have been dealing with the loss of their son:
Phones constantly ring with reporters asking for interviews or family members offering support. Last week, as demands reached a tipping point, both parents moved into hotels to shield themselves.
In the days leading up to the funeral, Brown's mother continued to cry and spoke in whispers as she tried to explain her feelings.
"They say tomorrow is going to be the hardest day, but I think today was — just seeing my baby laying there, cold," Lesley McSpadden, 34, told USA TODAY. "It did something to my heart. It's too much. It's too much."
08/26/2014 7:44 AM EDT
New Audio Allegedly Captures Moment Michael Brown Was Shot
New audio has surfaced that allegedly captures the moment when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on Aug. 9.
CNN aired the unverified recording on Monday night. Six shots can be heard, followed by a pause, then several more. A private autopsy performed on Aug. 17 at the request of Brown's family found that the 18-year-old was shot 6 times, including twice in the head.
08/25/2014 12:58 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: America, It's Time To Deal With Policing
08/25/2014 12:53 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: All Of Us Are Required To Respond
Rev. Al Sharpton: All of us are required to respond to this #MikeBrownfuneral— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) August 25, 2014
08/25/2014 12:48 PM EDT
Benjamin Crump: We Will Not Accept Three-Fifths Justice For Michael Brown
08/25/2014 12:28 PM EDT
Funeral Program Includes Tribute From Michael Brown's Parents
USA Today reporter, Yamiche Alcindor shares photo of program which includes tributes to Michael Brown from his mother and father
08/25/2014 12:22 PM EDT
Michael Brown's Stepmother: He Prophesied His Own Death
Stepmother of #MichaelBrown said the late teen "pretty much prophesied his own death and didn't realize it."— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 25, 2014