BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Rev. Al Sharpton joined the family of Eric Garner on Monday to place wreaths at the site where two NYPD officers were killed in late December.
Nearly one month after the shooting deaths of Dets. Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, crowds gathered on the corner of Tompkins and Myrtle avenues on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to honor the officers.
“We come today, particularly on this holiday, because we feel that the significance of this holiday should also represent that we are unequivocally against the shedding of innocent blood,” Sharpton said.
The memorial followed a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Policy Forum at the National Action Network House of Justice in Harlem.
Six buses of supporters went to Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to James Mcdougal, president of NAN’s Central Brooklyn chapter.
Some participants yelled, “We all are one” and “Love each other,” as the crowd walked down Tompkins Avenue singing “We’ve Come This Far by Faith.”
Prior to Sharpton’s arrival, a van of more than 50 New Jersey residents arrived at the shooting site to pray for peace and place pink roses on the sidewalk.
“We came because we’re concerned about the city and what it’s been through,” said Kent Pipes, a member of Second Baptist Church in Mount Holly, N.J., who helped organize the trip. “We believe there needs to be justice for people of all races and where there has been discrimination, there needs there to be sensitivity on part of the police and the justice system.”
Darius Waters, a Bed-Stuy resident who brought his 7-year-old son to see Sharpton, said he hopes to see greater collaboration between officers and the community.
“I’m here to support the movement,” Waters said. “There needs to be peaceful activities. The mood in the community is just cries for help and wondering why.
“Especially on a day like today, it gives you time to reflect and stand for a cause. I want my sons to see we are all allowed to live in the same community and in peace.”
Following the Bed-Stuy memorial, Sharpton will visit the Pink Houses in East New York to hold a prayer vigil for Akai Gurley, who was shot and killed by a police officer in the public housing stairwell.
The group will then travel to Tompkinsville for a candelight vigil in memory of Garner.