The Rev. Al Sharpton was at the forefront of thousands of demonstrators during a march across Staten Island in New York Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old borough resident, Reuters reported. Garner died July 17 after New York Police Department officer Daniel Pantaleo, 29, placed the asthmatic in an illegal chokehold. Garner was 6 feet and 3 inches tall, and he weighed about 350 pounds.
“If you can do it to him, then you can do it to any citizen, and we are not going to be silent when that happens,” Sharpton told the audience during a prerally speech in Staten Island, where he was joined by Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner. Garner was also survived by six children.
“Let’s make this a peaceful march and get justice for my husband so that this doesn’t happen to anybody else,” Esaw told the crowd.
The peaceful protest began around 11 a.m. EDT, as noted by the National Urban League. The march was sponsored by the National Action Network, or NAN; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP; the United Federation of Teachers, or UFT; and 1199SEIU, a union of health-care workers. So-called justice caravan buses were booked to pick up protesters in Brooklyn and New Jersey.
Some marchers employed social media to alert others about the event, which was scheduled to conclude at 3 p.m. EDT:
â€” Terrell J. Starr (@Russian_Starr) August 23, 2014
â€” Rebecca Myles (@RebMyles) August 23, 2014
â€” B.T. Weeks (@BweeksB) August 23, 2014
"I've been marching a long time," said Ruth Johnson, 70 years old. "But it was time to come out again, and so I did." http://t.co/fRp3i4pw6M
â€” WSJ Greater New York (@WSJNY) August 23, 2014
The family of Eric Garner speaks to parishioners at the Mt. Sinai United Christian Church in Staten Island. pic.twitter.com/O7sLWN0eVL
â€” The Village Voice (@villagevoice) August 23, 2014
â€” Democracy Now! (@democracynow) August 23, 2014