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Rally against brutality

Onlookers from all five boroughs flooded the Staten Island Ferry
Onlookers from all five boroughs flooded the Staten Island Ferry
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Today on Staten Island it could have been the sixties. Thousands of people who normally would not set foot on Staten Island came by bus and subway and flooded the Staten Island ferry to attend what was described by onlookers in The Staten Island Advance today (August 23) as a peaceful rally that was without incident. According to today's Advance, "many groups, from 49Stong to the New York State Nurses Association, came out to show their support at the rally." For more on this story visit http://www.silive.com and http://ww.nytimes.com for up to the minute coverage of the event that put the focus on Staten Island, even though many viewed the rally itself as controversial.

Demonstrators marched on Staten Island on Saturday against overly aggressive policing after the death of Eric Garner who died at 43, after being placed in a chokehold while the police attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally on July 17. His family and others have called for prosecutors to take action against the officer involved, added The Advance.

Mr. Garner’s death has served as a lightning rod for protests against police brutality, and preceded the strife in Ferguson, Mo., where Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed by a police officer," added the report.

"We feel that justice should be for all. We, as healthcare workers, support our community and our communities need our help right now," said Rose Mary Rogers, nurse representative with the union, added The Advance.

Said John Greene of 49Strong, "This is not just a Staten Island issue. It's an issue that affects us all. This affects the whole United States." Many clergy came from various parts of New York City to take part in the Staten Island protest, added the report today in The Advance.

"We are here for justice," Rev. Walter Taylor, of St. Luke's Baptists Church in Manhattan, said. "This is a significant march because we want to come together to bridge community and police relations. We want to move forward with the process. The officers involved need to be held accountable," added The Advance

Prior to the march, Sharpton aired his National Action Network broadcast from Mt. Sinai United Christian Church in Tompkinsville, according to The Advance. "You have to stop with the chokehold. And I didn't call it an illegal chokehold, the police department did," Sharpton said. "We are not saying all police are bad. We are not marching against the police; we are marching against the chokehold."

Added The New York Times today: "They came on buses. They flooded the ferry terminal. Many walked on foot. But they all had the same purpose: A rally for "justice." Added The Times, "by 10 a.m. approximately 2,000 people filled Victory Boulevard near Tompkinsville Park, the site of Garner's death."

Chants of "No justice, no peace," and "I can't breathe," could be heard echoing down St. Mark's Place as marchers lined up holding signs that read, "Am I next?" "Stop police brutality," and "Jail Killer Cops," added reports.

Onlookers saw that protestors held hands to form a chain on both sides of the street allowing other marchers to move forward. Marchers were orderly and stayed within the confines of the police barricades. The march path proceeded up Bay Street to Stuyvesant Place past District Attorney Daniel Donovan's office, and down Schuyler Street to the beat of "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" blaring from speakers set up near Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George. Marchers proceeded to Richmond Terrace where the protest culminated in front of the 120th Police Precinct stationhouse in St. George, added The Times article.

Whether you agree with the rally or not, the event put the focus on the issue of the chokehold as a means of police protection. Brutality in all its forms is something that the rally has put the focus on. Staten Island teachers and parents, weigh in on the issue. Examiner welcomes your comments and feedback!