Millennium Post

Protests flare for third straight night in NY

Protests flare for third straight night in NY
Protesters in New York and other cities staged a third night of rallies on Friday, denouncing the use of deadly force by police against minorities, even as prosecutors said they would consider charges against an officer in the fatal shooting of a unarmed black man in November.

The slaying of Akai Gurley, 28, gunned down in a dimly lit stairwell in the New York borough of Brooklyn, was the latest in a string of lethal police actions feeding US public outrage over what many perceive as racially biased violence by law enforcement. This week’s wave of angry but largely peaceful protests began Wednesday when a New York grand jury declined to bring charges against white police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, a black 43-year-old father of six.

Garner, who had no weapon, was being arrested on suspicion of selling cigarettes illegally in a videotaped confrontation with police on Staten Island in July. The video shows Pantaleo’s arm across Garner’s neck as he is subdued by four officers, then Garner pinned face down to the pavement as he repeatedly gasps, “I can’t breathe”, a phrase protesters have adopted as a rallying cry. The decision sparing Pantaleo from prosecution was announced nine days after a Missouri grand jury chose not to indict a white policeman for the shooting death in August of an unarmed black teenager in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, spurring two nights of arson and unrest there.

Then on Thursday in Phoenix, Arizona, another unarmed black man was shot dead by a white police officer during a scuffle, leading to protests in that city.

“The government has created a monster and the monster is now loose,” said Soraya Soi Free, 45, a nurse from the Bronx who has been protesting in New York.

Jury will consider police charges

A New York district attorney has said he would impanel a grand jury to consider charges in the latest police killing of an unarmed black man as the United States grapples with nationwide protests.

Akai Gurley, 28, a father of a young daughter, was shot dead by a single bullet on a dimly lit staircase at a Brooklyn apartment building as he walked with his girlfriend late on November 20. The New York police commissioner admitted that he had been a totally innocent victim. Gurley’s family has demanded justice for his death ahead of a wake later on Friday and a funeral on Saturday.

Brooklyn district attorney Ken Thompson announced yesterday that he would present all the evidence for a grand jury to decide whether charges should be brought. “It is important to get to the bottom of what happened,” he said. He gave no timetable for the jury to be appointed nor for a decision to be reached. “I pledge to conduct a full and fair investigation and to give the grand jury all of the information necessary to do its job. That information is still being gathered,” Thompson said.


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