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Esaw Garner, left, arrives at the spot where her husband, Eric Garner, died, with The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, and Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, right, at the start of a march and rally in Staten Island on Aug. 23, 2014. / Craig Ruttle, AP

The Rev. Al Sharpton led thousands of demonstrators in a peaceful rally and march across the New York borough of Staten Island on Saturday to protest the chokehold death of an unarmed black man by a white police officer.

Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died July 17 after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold. The tactic, which had been banned, was captured on video.

Garner's death has helped fuel the growing national debate over the use of force on blacks by police officers.

The march came in the wake of protests in Ferguson, Mo., over the fatal shooting by a white police officer of an unarmed black teen. That killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown led to nearly two weeks of protests.

Protesters in New York on Saturday borrowed the slogan from protests in Ferguson: "Hands up, don't shoot." Marchers also held a banner that said: "We Will Not Go Back, March for Justice."

Police estimated that 2,500 people marched in the protest, according to the Associated Press.

Sharpton was joined by former New York governor David Paterson, civil rights leaders and Garner's family. Garner's sister, Ellisha Flagg, told the New York Post that she was "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of support.

"It is sad that my brother can't be here to see this but, you know, I know he is watching in spirit," she said. "I just hope everybody just stays peaceful ? and try to make a change."

New York City's medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide, saying his neck and chest were compressed by police offers who stopped him for selling loose cigarettes. Asthma and obesity also played a role in Garner's death, the medical examiner said.

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan said Tuesday he would let a grand jury decide whether to criminally charge the officers. Two NYPD officers have been reassigned during the investigation.

Sharpton is calling on federal authorities to take over the criminal probe.

Contributing: The Associated Press



Copyright 2014

Read the original story: Thousands turn out for N.Y. rally over chokehold death

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