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Citywide Elected Officials Skip Garner March; Many Council Members Attend

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Saturday's Eric Garner march was notable, in part, for who chose not to attend. The mayor and other citywide elected officials chose to skip it, but not all politicians stayed on the sidelines. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

Mayor Bill de Blasio did not attend, nor did other citywide elected officials.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito did, alongside council colleagues. Governor Andrew Cuomo did not, as noted by some of his more left-leaning opponents who did.

"Cuomo has been silent on this in every way," said Zephyr Teachout, who is challenging Cuomo in the Democratic primary.

Other elected officials offered some of the day’s most fiery rhetoric.

"The only way we'll be satisfied is if justice takes place, and the officers responsible for the death of Eric Garner are convicted and sent upstate," said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, whose district covers parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

The Eric Garner case has put some politicians in a tough spot. De Blasio has tried to soothe tensions while also being supportive of his police force. At a Brooklyn church Saturday, he spoke of police reforms already underway and defended the march's organizers.

"Their message is clearly about bringing police and community together. Any attempt to paint it otherwise is inaccurate," the mayor said. "They're trying to raise concerns about how we move forward."

Perhaps the most visible political figure Saturday was former Governor David Paterson, who accompanied the Garner family and marched alongside the Rev. Al Sharpton, whom he defended at a pre-march rally.

"He is not the cause of fanning the flames," Paterson said. "What's fanning the flames is where the flames came from. It's injustice."

The city councilwoman representing this district, Democrat Debi Rose, could not attend after she was recently injured in a fall at her home. Some at the rally found it notable that no other Staten Island elected officials chose to attend.

"I'm disappointed, obviously, that there weren't more electeds from Staten Island here," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn. "Obviously, there is certain places in this city where we're worried about getting justice on these cases. This is one of them. But hopefully, we'll be wrong." ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP