Contenion swirls around proposed march for Eric Garner over Verrazano Bridge

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- Not even a step has been taken and already a proposed march across the Verrazano Bridge is generating much controversy.

The March for Solidarity being spearheaded by National Action Network founder, the Rev. Al Sharpton, is slated for Aug. 23 and, if approved, will force lane closures.

The march in memory of Eric Garner -- a 43-year-old father who died in police custody on Staten Island - is not sitting well with many in the borough where he died.

"This is not about the content of the march or the message of the march," city councilman Vincent Ignizio said.

The Staten Island Republican and city council minority leader said he is not opposed of  a proposed march by Sharpton in light of Garner's death at the hands of the NYPD, but Ignizio doesn't think the Verrazano Bridge is the best place for it.

"This is an inappropriate location to put tens of thousands of people. This is the main artery of Staten Island," he said.

That's an argument to which Sharpton, in a Thursday interview with PIX 11 News, replied: "If police can secure the Verrazano Bridge for the marathon, which lasts a whole lot longer than a march would, why couldn't the police secure the Verrazano Bridge for our march?"

Ignizio' take?:

"The marathon is a little different. It's an international event that brings millions and millions of dollars into the city, that has people from all over the globe coming for it and has months and months of training and planning for it, this is a little bit different."

When asked what is the statement by having it on the bridge as opposed to having it on one of the main drags in Staten Island, Sharpton said, "Again, what is the reason one can tell us?  We have the right to protest but go where we tell you."

Thursday marks three weeks since Garner's in-custody death that touched off a firestorm of criticism against the NYPD for officers' behavior and alleged use of the long-banned chokehold.

His death death has divided communities and produced a contentious war of words between those who represent members of NYPD, as evident from Tuesday's news conference with PBA President Pat Lynch, as well as Sharpton himself, who told Mayor Bill de Blasio last week, "If Dante wasn't your son, he would be a candidate for a chokehold."

PIX11 News asked Sharpton if denied of a permit for the bridge, will he still conduct a march?

"That will be dependent on the reason. I mean, we're meeting as we have met when we do any march. I don't, for the life of me, understand what rationale the city would come up with. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Pun intended."

1 Comment

  • tm

    Dear Reverend Sharpton, Whatever happened to “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers, principalities, rulers and spiritual wickedness in high places”?
    The devil is laughing.

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