The family of the Staten Island man who died after police allegedly used a chokehold on him speak out at the National Action Network as allegations of police brutality are once again in the spotlight. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
It's been a tough couple of weeks for the wife of Eric Garner—the Staten Island man who died after being arrested by police, who used an apparent chokehold during the incident.
Saturday she gathered herself to set the record straight, though.
"My husband was not a violent man. Not in any way shape form or fashion," said Esaw Garner at a National Action Network rally.
Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, spoke publicly for the first time, thanking the countless people who have stood with her family calling for a thorough investigation into the incident that led to her son's death.
"All the people that stand behind us it's just overwhelming," Carr said.
The family says Garner was quiet, but in death he's making a lot of noise.
His last words, "I can't breathe," have become a rallying cry—a symbol not just for him, but all the others who have died as a result of what many say is police brutality that has gone on for too long.
"We want justice for my son, we want justice for your son, your daughter, anybody, we don't want this to happen. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy," Carr said.
"Seeing this family was almost like looking in the mirror all over again.[[butt]] I am here because justice has to served," Nicole Paultre Bell, the fiance of Sean Bell, who was killed in 2006.
While the outcry continued this week, another incident of alleged police brutality was caught on camera.
Cellphone video shows what appears to be an officer stomping the head of Jahmiel Cuffe while arresting him in Brooklyn.
"My brother was defensless, on his back with two officers on top of him. This video is not unclear," said Rashida Rahim, Cuffee's sister.
Police say that arrest happened after officers saw Cuffe roll a marijuana cigarette.
Sharpton says it doesn't matter what officers saw; like in Garner's case, the force was unnecessary.
"How do we stop police from going over the line? Same way we stop young folk from going over the line. If they see bad cops perp walked and go to jail, they'll know they better stop because they could be the next one," Sharpton said.
That's what supporters are hoping happens in both these cases, because unlike in past incidents, they say the video evidence available tells all.
The head of the police union is addressing the videos that have emerged in these cases.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Pat Lynch said, “Videotapes never present all of the facts in a situation.They never capture the criminal act or offense that brings police action to the scene. They present an isolated period of a police interaction but never the entire scenario. That’s why it is necessary when video tapes surface to have a complete review of the facts in every case before arriving at any conclusion.”