City Council members block traffic to protest ‘injustice’ of Garner decision

Following their mayor’s lead, members of the New York City Council took extreme measures on Monday to show displeasure with the Eric Garner grand jury decision.

The council members first blocked traffic on Broadway, according to the New York Observer,.and then scurried inside to a scheduled meeting and began shouting “I Can’t Breathe,” a popular slogan of those protesting the grand jury decision not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner.

“Eleven times Eric Garner cried out for help, and 11 times his cries went unheard: ‘I can’t breathe,’” Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said at the start of the meeting as she led the council to chant the phrase 11 times.

“What happened to Eric Garner is not justice. A system that produces this much pain is clearly broken,” she continued.

“This Council will not remain silent, because black lives matter, because all lives matter. And we are not going to stop until there is reform and justice for all,” Councilwoman Debi Rose said inside the hall.

The council demonstration followed a similar theme to a previous action by the council members when many walked out of the council’s last meeting with their hands in the air in protest of a Ferguson, Mo., grand jury’s decision to not indict former Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, according to the Observer.

Monday’s protest was met by Teamsters protesting across the street over Mayor de Blasio’s plan to eliminate horse drawn carriages from New York City streets, reported the Observer.

However, many of the Teamsters joined in with the council members when they returned to the chamber for a “Hands up, don’t shoot” chant.

That narrative has been disproven by the forensic account of the Brown shooting, but why let facts stand in the way?

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Carmine Sabia

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