The rally comes after the shooting death of another unarmed black man, Mike Brown, by police in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th. Many students and activists held a protest against the recurring of police brutality towards black men in Bedford Stuyvesant, Union Square, and Harlem last week.
The National Action Network, founded by Reverend Al Sharpton in 1991, hosted the rally in Staten Island to bring awareness to the lack of action by the New York City Police Department in dealing with cases of police brutality. Sharpton made his intentions clear and stated firmly to the crowd, “Don’t act like we are here against (the) police; we are (here) for police.”
The mothers and family of Eric Garner, Amadou Diallo, and Ramarley Graham spoke to the crowd at the rally advocating for justice for their deceased sons and awareness for the recurring of violence in the African-American communities.
Brooklyn council member, Jumaane Williams, who faced an unwarranted arrest by the NYPD during the 2011 West Indian Labor Day Parade, voiced strong opposition to police brutality against black men, and praised the rally for giving speakers and community members “a constructive way to release their energy and get their message across.” Williams continued saying “hopefully this is not a one day thing and we continue to make pressure to have accountability for officers.”
Sharpton advised the NYPD to make bigger strides towards holding those accused of police brutality accountable saying, “ If you have a bag of apples and there is a rotten apple in the bag; the only way to protect the good apples is to take the rotten apples out of the bag. We are trying to help the NYPD to deal with the rotten apples, reform police and hold those accountable who break the law.”