NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The de Blasio administration on Monday was trying to ensure that peace is maintained the Staten Island rally for Eric Garner – the man who died in police custody last month.
As CBS 2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the mayor wants to avoid violent confrontations with officers like those that have transpired in Ferguson, Missouri, after the police shooting that killed Michael Brown, 18.
As of Monday, a bouquet of flowers and a few candles stood at the Tompkinsville, Staten Island, site where Garner was taken down in a police chokehold and later died. Along with them stood a cardboard sign reading, “From Staten Island to Ferguson, MO, no justice, no peace till the killers of Eric Garner and Mike Brown go to jail.”
Civil rights activists are expected to gather at the same spot this coming Saturday, in a protest that police officials are desperate to ensure is peaceful with none of the intense clashes seen in Ferguson.
“In this city, we value the rights of people to make their feelings heard, and the NYPD does an extraordinary job of creating a smart, flexible approach that accommodates the right to free speech and respects people’s rights, but also keeps safety and order,” Mayor de Blasio said.
Sources told CBS 2 the mayor and his staff have been reaching out to the Rev. Al Sharpton and other protest organizers to work out details for a peaceful event.
The NYPD has drawn up an action plan that includes staffing levels, traffic patterns, a controlled route that minimizes community impact, and staging for buses and cars.
“There will be a lot of security provided for this march,” de Blasio said.
There is extra concern about tensions, because Brown’s family is considering coming to Staten Island to appear with the Garner family. The Brown family appearance will depend on the timing of his funeral.
Garner’s mother said she wants to ensure the rally remains peaceful.
“Just come out, and we’re going to keep this thing peaceful. We’re not going to be like Missouri. We’re not going out there, and we’re not going to start fighting and pushing each other, and breaking windows,” said Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr. “We’re going to show them we are bigger than that.”
At Garner’s makeshift memorial Monday, Doug Brinson of Staten Island said the point of the rally was simply justice.
“We want the cop that killed Eric Garner to get locked up,” Brinson said. “It’s going to be a peaceful march, because we’ve got to have police. We love the police. We just don’t like killer police.”
It remained unclear Monday how many people would show up for the rally. Sharpton originally said to expect thousands.
The march will pass the officer of the Staten Island District Attorney, who is investigating Garner’s death. Protesters want the District Attorney’s office to bring criminal charges against those involved.
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