Police Criminality in NYC is becoming that very painful and aggravating paper cut that never truly heals. Before it can fully heal, its opened up again. Family friends and supporters gathered at the Bethel Baptist Church on Wednesday in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill to pay their respects the family of Eric Garner, the Staten Island father who died on the street after an NYPD cop put him in an illegal choke-hold. The incident that went viral only after it was recorded on a smart phone, not only re-opened that never-ending wound, it became a major gash that can’t be just covered with another band-aid to stop the bleeding.
Among those who came to pay their respects was Kadiatou Diallo, the mother of Amadou Diallo, who was shot to death by cops in 1999 when they mistook his wallet for a gun. “It’s just so sad. It brings back terrible memories. After all these cases and all these years, nothing seems to change,” she told the Daily News. “It should never have happened, it should have been prevented,” she added, of Garner’s death. “I’m calling on the new administration, Mayor de Blasio and (NYPD) Commissioner (Bill) Bratton, to bring about changes,” Diallo said.
Just before 8:30pm Rev. Al Sharpton questioned the cop’s decency and lack of respect for Garner as one of God’s children. “This is an occasion when we should not be here,” he said. “We’re in a city where you can’t choke us. Go to the video tape. What are you going to say now? You can’t stop us on this one.”
Then Sharpton personally acknowledged the young man who took the video, Ramsey Ortiz, who said this was wrong and began taping the incident. “God will take care of us now. Fight back community. Don’t back down. We got to win. We don’t choke people. We’re redeemers of this city.” Sharpton asked where the cop’s morality and decency was when Garner was saying, “I can’t breathe.” He went on to add that he wants everyone involved prosecuted to the end and the he will be meeting Friday with U.S. attorney’s office about the incident.
Bethel Baptist Church was full to capacity with at a least a hundred or so people inside for Eric Garner’s funeral and a few hundred more outside, showing their support and protesting this latest act of police criminality. Garner, a 43-year-old father of six from Port Richmond, died while in police custody Thursday after police tried to arrest him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes.
The Staten Island district attorney is said to be investigating, and federal authorities are supposed to be monitoring the probe. Two police officers and four emergency medical workers have been said to have been disciplined pending the investigation’s outcome. Those in attendance outside of Bethel Baptist Church made it known, they will not allow this to swept under the rug with no being brought to justice like the many previous cases like Ramarley Graham, Kenneth Chamberlain Sr and DJ Henry, just a few of the many cases where police haven’t paid for their crimes against persons of color as of yet. The common theme among the multi-cultural crowd which included The Peacekeepers, The NYC Revolution Club, The Progressive Labor Party and The BLFJ – Black Lawyers For Justice (who circulated pamphlets titled ‘What Black People Need To Know When Dealing With Police’), just to name a few, the common theme among the multi-cultural crowd was – This Stops Now!