Thousands of people attended a march in the New York City borough of Staten Island on Saturday to oppose police violence in New York and around the US. The march assembled on the corner where 43-year-old Staten Island resident Eric Garner was killed in July by police officers when they put him in a chokehold.
Workers and youth–including hospital workers, teachers, and hundreds of students from the New York metropolitan area–came not only to express anger over the killing of Garner, but also the hundreds of other recent victims of police violence, including Michael Brown, the 18-year old unarmed youth killed in Ferguson, Missouri.
Protestors chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot”, raising their hands in the symbol of protest that has come from demonstrations in Ferguson in the last two weeks. Marchers also told the World Socialist Web Site that they were concerned over the deployment of militarized police and the National Guard against Missouri residents who were protesting Brown’s killing.
Garner’s memory and the circumstances of his death added tremendous emotional weight to the demonstration. Large numbers came from Tompkinsville, the area where the rally assembled, one of the poorest communities in New York City.
A friend of Eric Garner’s, Deena, told the WSWS, “It’s a senseless murder. They did not have to kill this man. They could have gone about in a whole different manner. He was my friend from when I was 11 years old. He lived in Coney Island houses, I lived in Graves End houses [in Brooklyn]. He was never about violence. Okay, he was selling cigarettes. But to be murdered for selling cigarettes? Is that right? Is that moral?”