On Saturday over 25,000 protesters filled the streets of lower Manhattan to voice their displeasure after a grand jury failed to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner.
Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons joined the procession as crowds chanted “I can’t breathe,” referring to the last words Garner spoke as Officer Pantaleo held him around the throat while at least six other NYPD officers assisted in subduing Garner, who was already down on the ground.
Simmons told NewsOne that the relationship between prosecutors and law enforcement in such cases is too cozy, saying, “If my brother kills somebody, I’m-a hide the body. There is no reason police should police the police.”
Simmons continued, “We need a special prosecutor, now. And a prosecutor who can look at these cases of police brutality or police wrongdoing and make real judgments and decide whether people should go to trial.” Hear what else he had to say in the video above.
Brooklynite Lakethia Factor and her daughter were also among the masses marching through Manhattan streets in protest of the Staten Island grand jury’s decision.
Factor explained why it was important to take part in the NYC Millions March with her daughter: “I try to teach her we’re not afraid of police because there are good people and bad people. We’re just out here protesting against the system. That is the problem, not the police.” Hear the rest of her commentary in the video below.
Family members of Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, Shantel Davis, Sean Bell, Emmitt Till, Alberta Spruill, Ramarley Graham, and Kimani Gray led the New York City march from Washington Square Park to the New York Police Department headquarters, according to a released statement by Synead Nichols, 23, and Umaara Iynaas Elliott, 19, who said they were the “original organizers.” Black Lives Matter, Justice League NYC, Ferguson Action, and Million Hoodies were among the other organizers cited. “Together we peacefully demonstrated that NYC, and people in cities across the country, will not stand for a police system that shoots to kill with no accountability. This is only the beginning,” said Nichols.
Two NYPD officers were assaulted when a break-off demonstration continued away from the planned march route and over the Brooklyn Bridge. Otherwise, demonstrations were largely peaceful.