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Police, S.I. Businesses and Residents Prepare for Garner Rally

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The New York City Police Department, along with businesses and residents in the North Shore section of Staten Island, are preparing in advance of Saturday's rally in honor of Eric Garner, which is expected to draw thousands of people.

The "We Will Not Go Back" march is set to begin at noon at Victory Boulevard and Bay Street.

Marchers will then make their way to the Staten Island district attorney's office on Stuyvesant Place before wrapping up with a rally at Richmond Terrace and Hamilton Avenue.

Sources tell NY1 the NYPD is expected to have more of a "behind the scenes" role. The National Action Network is expected to deploy 500 of its own marshals, people like community leaders, who will be stationed along the march's route, managing participants and moving the crowd along.

On the eve of the rally protesting his death, a group of about 10 gathered at National Action Event in New Brighton to make signs for the march. 

They said they hope they march will expose what they view as excessive police force and underlying issues of race.  

"It's important for me to be here in solidarity with the people of Staten Island," said one person making signs.

On bright poster boards, they wrote phrases like "Stop the Killing," "I am Eric Garner" and also "Hands Up, Don't Shoot," a reference to 18-year-old Michael Brown, the unarmed teen who was shot and killed by police in Missouri.  

"I think it's important that people are aware of what happened to Eric Garner, what happened to Mike Brown, what happens to black lives all around the country, and so we're writing that black lives matter and we want to live past 18," said one person making signs for the rally.

Many local businesses are planning to close as a precaution.

The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce sent a flier to dozens of merchants this week warning them that "there is no guarantee everyone in attendance will act sensibly."

Chamber officials say the letter was not meant to scare business owners or discourage them from staying open.

Teriza Ebid, who owns a Halal food truck in Tompkinsville, says she cannot afford to lose any business but the potential for problems from the nearby Eric Garner rally could be more damaging.

"Maybe they're gonna do something like broken cars hit the people we don't know what's gonna happen," Ebid said.

At the nearby Above D'Grain Barber Shop, employees admit they are a little nervous but have not decided whether or not to open Saturday.

"It's a tense situation you never know what's gonna happen, the feeling is you hope it turns out to be a good one," said Barbershop Manager Will Ceddle.

The rally comes as Garner's family is renewing its call for federal prosecutors to get involved in the case.

His widow joined Al Sharpton on Thursday for a meeting with U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in Brooklyn.

They say Lynch was very open to their concerns but did not immediately decide if she would look into the case.

Garner died on July 17 after being placed in an alleged chokehold while police were trying to arrest him for illegally selling cigarettes.

Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan says he will present evidence to a grand jury.

Sharpton says he expects three to five thousand people to take part in Saturday's rally.

Meantime, the man who shot the video that put the Garner case in the spotlight has made bail on gun charges, according to his cousin.

Ramsey Orta, 22, was arrested a few weeks after Garner's death.

Police said officers saw him tucking a handgun into the waistband of a 17-year-old girl.

He pleaded not guilty to criminal possession of an unloaded firearm

Orta is due back in court on September 5.

Street Closures & Transit Changes

The following streets will be closed Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Drivers are advised to avoid these areas between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

• Bay Street from Hannah Street to Richmond Terrace
• Little Bay Street from Victory Boulevard to Bay Street
• Victory Boulevard from Jersey Street to Bay Street
• St. Mark’s Place from Victory Boulevard to Hyatt Street
• Stuyvesant Place from Bay Street to Wall Street
• Schuyler Street from Stuyvesant Place to Richmond Terrace
• Richmond Terrace from Bay Street to Westervelt Avenue
• Wall Street from St. Mark’s Place to Richmond Terrace
• Hamilton Avenue from Richmond Terrace to Stuyvesant Place

From the MTA:

In anticipation of street closures in and around the vicinity of the St. George Ferry Terminal due to Saturday's planned march, MTA New York City Transit will execute a comprehensive service plan between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. that will ensure customers will be able to reach their destinations throughout the day. Customers are advised to allow additional time for travel.

Staten Island Railway (SIR) normally operates every 30 minutes on Saturdays. SIR will supplement normal service with an additional shuttle train operating between Old Town Station and St George Terminal. The shuttle train will operate every 15 minutes. Additional personnel will be assigned to assist customers at Old Town Station, Grasmere Station, Tompkinsville Station, and St George Station. Signage to advise customers of the additional SIR service will be posted at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan, St. George Ferry Terminal and in SIR train cars.

Signage to advise customers of the additional SIR service will be posted at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan, St. George Ferry Terminal and in SIR train cars.

Additional subway personnel will also be dispatched in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan as march participants travel to and from the march staging areas.

Several bus routes will be impacted by street closures as a result of the planned march. The S74 and S76 will terminate at Old Town Rd where customers can transfer to SIR for service to St. George. The S78 will detour and stop at Old Town Rd. in order to allow customers to transfer for SIR service and then will continue along its regular route and terminate at Narrows Rd South.

The S40, S44, S46, S48, S61, and S62 will terminate at Broadway/Clove Rd. where customers can board shuttle buses for service to the Old Town Station and transfer to SIR.

The S51 and S52 will detour and stop at Old Town Rd. in order to allow customers to transfer for SIR service and then will continue along their regulars route and terminate at Hylan Blvd/Clove Rd.

The S53, S79, X1, X10, and X17 will run their normal routes across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

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