Its been almost twenty years since NYPD officers killed Anthony Rosario and cousin Hilton Vega in a Bronx apartment, firing over 20 shots while the men were lying facedown.
Less than a month from that anniversary of her son’s death, Margarita Rosario (pictured left) held a candlelight vigil outside her Kingsbridge home Saturday evening.
Shortly after the gathering, Rosario lead a group on a brief march around the block, joined by Hawa Bah (pictured right) and Iris Baez, other mothers of police victims.
Participants sang “I Can’t Breathe,” a song dedicated to Eric Garner while marching before returning to Rosario’s home for another speakout.
Watch protestors sing “I Can’t Breathe” here:
“My son was a student, he [was] an immigrant, he’s African-American,” commented Bah, whose son Mohamed was shot dead during a struggle with officers in his Manhattan apartment in 2012. “He came here young; he got all his legal [documents]. He never committed a crime [in] his life. The whole system is wrong! I need justice for my son!”
“This is important to Margarita, important to all the mothers that are out there,” added Baez, whose son Anthony died from an officer-applied chokehold in 1994, mirroring the Garner case. Baez also commented on the NYPD officers who turned their backs on Mayor DeBlasio during a press conference about the recently killed cops in Brooklyn.
“These officers who gave their backs to Mayor DeBlasio—I call that a broken window,” she said, referencing NYPD Commissioner Bratton’s controversial policing strategy. “How dare they do that to a mayor that we appointed, that we elected? They’re not elected—they chose to become police officers.”
The event also saw the unveiling of a section on Rosario’s home, which she turned into a mural honoring police victims shortly after Anthony’s killing. The section paid direct homage to Rosario and Vega “and all those who have perished by the hands of the police.”
“People kept on asking me, ‘What was in the middle?'” commented the elder Rosario after the unveiling. “We finally got a chance to put it up.”
Speaking more in-depth about why she created the mural, Rosario “felt that I needed to let the community know, New York City know, how many people are being killed by police.”
Rosario also invited the crowd into the basement following the reveal, where she served refreshments before the crowd began dispersing.
See more pictures from the vigil below: