Fresh off the start of his four day “Justice For Michael Brown” weekend, the Rev. Al Sharpton (pictured center) spoke at National Action Network HQ Saturday morning.
He offered the attentive crowd updates on a variety of subjects, including yesterday’s surprise resignation of NYPD Chief Philip Banks and allegations surrounding Gwen Carr (pictured in background with headdress, behind Sharpton), Eric Garner’s mother.
But first, the Rev touched on President Obama‘s treatment, Tuesday’s midterm elections and why it is crucial the Black vote gets out. “You got people blatantly wanting to impeach this president, wanting to tear up the Affordable Care Act that has provided 8 million Americans with healthcare,” he began. “They wanna make sure the president can’t appoint anybody to his cabinet.”
“You cannot let folk trick you out of voting because of their interpretation, because they have an agenda for you not to vote. ‘Your vote don’t count.’ Well, why they spending all this money trying to stop you from voting? If your vote don’t count, then why they changing laws about early voting days and about voter ID?”
Sharpton also reminded people to “think about the folk that couldn’t vote at all, and were lynched for even asking to vote. We oughta to be the first one at the polls every election day.”
Covering Banks’ resignation, Sharpton said he framed the situation as one of politics-not personal relationships- during an advisory call with Mayor DeBlasio Friday. “I said, ‘Well, Mr. Mayor, I’ve known Chief Banks a long time, respect him. But I do not get into persons; I stay into policy.'”
NAN’s founder remarked about sitting across from Black and White officers at One Police Plaza who defended stop and frisk, adding that, “I do not make recommendations based on who should get the job; I make recommendations based on what the job should be.”
He also criticized the media for trying to get his opinion on Banks simply because he was one of the highest ranking African Americans in the department. “They calling me because he’s Black; he’s become a Black member of Sharpton! What about the police union members? Call them!”
With Carr sitting behind him, Sharpton then focused on a New York Post article suggesting she got Staten Island’s top cop to send officers to fix her broken headlight so she could avoid a ticket last month.
“If you don’t [have anything] to say about stop and frisk, but you wanna beat up on somebody about a headlight to a victim’s grandma, it shows you that they’re operating in a strategy of fatal distraction. Don’t talk about where’s the grandchildren of Eric Garner, let’s talk about the headlights.”
“My thing is, if you allow them to set up the agenda, you’re gonna end up with them winning.”