Ben Feuerherd and Sophia Rosenbaum, New York Post, December 4, 2014
Calling state grand jury systems broken, the Rev. Al Sharpton announced a national march on Washington next weekend to protest the lack of indictments against cops in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri, whose actions led to the deaths of black civilians.
Sharpton, speaking from the Harlem headquarter of his National Action Network on Thursday, vowed to put pressure on the federal government to take action in both cases.
“We need to centralize and make clear, we want the Justice Department and the federal government to deal with the fact that the grand jury systems on a state level are broken and seem to lack the capacity to deal with police when you are dealing with questions of criminality and killings,” he said.
The families of both Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen who was fatally shot by a white Ferguson cop, and Eric Garner, who died after being taken down by a white cop who threw his arm around his neck on Staten Island, will join the leaders of the march on Saturday, Dec. 13.
“We want a centralized march around the specific address of a broken system that the grand juries have only underscored,” Sharpton said.
He called out the grand jury’s decision, released Wednesday, to not indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo despite video footage of the incident.
“When even with a videotape you cannot seem to achieve a standard of probable cause . . . . A man laying down already surrounded by police, and he’s still choking. He said ‘I can’t breathe’ 11 times. If that is not probable cause, then I don’t know what probable cause has ever been established,” Sharpton said.