Arrests Made At Eric Garner Protests Outside Mayor's Office - NBC Chicago
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Arrests Made At Eric Garner Protests Outside Mayor's Office

Dozens gathered outside the mayor's office as part of the so-called "11 Days of Outrage" in wake of the DOJ declining to file charges

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    Tensions Flare During Garner Protest at Gracie Mansion

    Several protesters were arrested and others got into a shoving match with police officers outside the mayor's offices on the Upper East Side during another day of protests for Eric Garner. NBC 4 New York's Ray Villeda reports.

    (Published Thursday, July 18, 2019)

    Around half a dozen people were arrested during an Eric Garner protest outside Gracie Mansion in New York Thursday evening.

    Dozens of people gathered at the corner of East 88th Street and East End Avenue around 5 p.m. as part of the so-called "11 Days of Outrage" in wake of the U.S. Department of Justice announcing they would not file charges against the NYPD officer accused of using a deadly chokehold on Garner, leading to his death.

    The people were arrested because they were lying down on East End Avenue while blocking traffic, and were taken away in a police wagon.

    Tensions rose at points during the protests, with demonstrators and cops getting entangled in shoving matches on the sidewalk outside the mayor's office. The group at times would march up East 89th Street and turn back, coming back down on East 88th Street.

    Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, was leading some of those marches, and said the turnout and everything happening at the event was "wonderful."

    "The support, all the people that came out, it wasn’t only people that look like me, it was everyone. And that’s the way that it should be," Carr told News 4. "We all should stand in solidarity of each other, because we never know what crises we’re going to go through in life."

    Carr met with Mayor de Blasio earlier in the day, and said felt that her message — that they want the officers she believes are resposible for her son's death to be fire — had been heard.

    The demonstrations are scheduled to take place for the next week and a half.

    The protests started in force on Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of Eric Garner's death. Two protests took place with hundreds in attendance, one at Manhattan's Foley Square and another  at Staten Island's St. George Terminal.

    Much of the group from the Foley Square protest earlier in the day traveled down to Staten Island, where more than 100 participants marched to a stationhouse and faced down police while chanting "What's his name? Eric Garner."

    At a press conference Tuesday after the Justice Department's decision, Carr aid the fight isn't over. "We have been on the forefront. We have followed it up. We had to go. We had to fight. This is not a easy fight but we kept on pushing," she said.

    "And make no mistake about we're going to still push," she added. "You could push back but we're pushing forward because this is not the end."

    Garner’s sister Ellisha Flagg-Garner also called on Mayor de Blasio to step and and "do your job. Stop trying to be a president when you can't even be a mayor."

    Civil rights prosecutors in Washington had favored filing criminal charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo, but ultimately U.S. Attorney General Barr sided with other federal prosecutors based in Brooklyn who said evidence, including a bystander's widely viewed cellphone video, wasn't sufficient to make a case, a Justice Department official told The Associated Press.

    Pantaleo, meanwhile, remains a New York City police officer. He awaits a judge's verdict in his NYPD disciplinary trial, which wrapped up last month. Ultimately, though, it'll be up to NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill to determine whether to fire Pantaleo or allow him to keep his job on the force, a fact Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated while adding that Pantaleo is entitled to due process.

    A city spokesperson said that decision is expected by the end of August.