Rev. Sharpton, Eric Garner's mother join rally for increased police accountability

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
George Floyd protests resume as NYC extends 8 p.m. curfew through Sunday
New York City officials joined by Rev. Al Sharpton, Eric Garner's mother Gwen Carr, Tuesday spoke on the urgency for police reform.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson was joined by the Rev. Al Sharpton, Eric Garner's mother Gwen Carr, and other officials Tuesday in pushing for a group of bills aimed at increasing police accountability amid the protests, violence and looting following the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The collection of legislation would make it illegal for a police officer to use a choke hold or any action that restricts breathing, and it would also create a "disciplinary matrix" to detail the appropriate penalty ranges for officers and provide more transparency regarding internal discipline.

"The eyes of the world are on New York City, and it is time for us to lead," Johnson said.

Sharpton praised peaceful protesters but also condemned those who would use the tragedy as cover for anarchy, urging them not to pretend they are activists by using Floyd's name. He was also critical of the federal response to the crisis.

"They are trying to militarize the country rather than humanize the country," Sharpton said.

Rev. Al Sharpton joins call for legislation would make it illegal for a police officer to use a choke hold or any action that restricts breathing.

He said the nation is right to be outraged, and that the bills on the table can be the first step in real change.

"These bill can be the real focus of where this nation can go, this can be the example New York can set nationwide," he said. "New York should set the tone, because the first time we heard, 'I can't breathe,' it was not in Minneapolis. It was on Staten Island, six years ago, and we did nothing."

Carr said she has been fighting for such reforms for years, ever since her son was killed.

"New York, stand up and stop these killings" she said.

She was also critical of those stoking violence.

"The country is in an uproar," she said. "And a lot of it is just opportunists. We ask the opportunists to go away. This is our movie, and we don't want to be an extra in our movie."

Still, she urged for continued demonstrations.

"The protests must go on, because we've got to wake up America," she said. "We all live in the same house, but we are treated differently."

Activists hoped the passage of the bills could serve as the basis for new laws at the federal level.

"We will never forget Eric and the systematic racism and injustice that stole him from you and our city," Johnson said. "That is why I am here today, to listen and to take action."

The City Council is expected to vote on both bills later this month.


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