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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Brooklyn Students Rally for Eric Garner

BROOKLYN (CN) - About 300 high school students rallied Thursday near the Kings County Courthouse to protest the choke-hold death of Eric Garner by police.

With three police officers looking on, the teens stood on the steps of Borough Hall holding a banner saying, "No Justice, No Peace," and chanted "If we can't get it, shut it down!" and "black lives matter!"

"I'm standing up for what's right," said Isabel Kulko, a 15-year-old from one of the three schools adjacent to the courthouse in the tony neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights.

The fact that Garner's videotaped choke-hold death by New York Police Department officer Daniel Pantaleo was in her own back yard was not lost on Alexa Krebs, 15.

"This makes it more real," she said.

A bystander who filmed the fatal July 17, 2014, altercation with police on Staten Island captured Garner gasping, "I can't breathe," 11 times before passing out.

Garner's death was ruled a homicide, but a grand jury voted not to indict the officer earlier this month, sparking protests and rallies across the nation.

The students, many of them in school uniforms, hustled from their schools this afternoon for the 40-minute rally. Their numbers swelled quickly as passersby stopped to join them in chanting.

"Our gift is the future, and this can't be the future," said Caroline Caldwell, a 15-year-old sophomore attending Saint Ann's.

Packer Collegiate Institute and The Brooklyn Friends School students also participated in the rally.

The three schools plan to hold a march on Friday at 12:30 p.m.

The New York Civil Liberties Union and the Legal Aid Society were set to argue to before Richmond County Supreme Court Judge Stephen Rooney on Friday that he should unseal the grand jury's minutes.

But Rooney reportedly recused himself from that hearing to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. That means the NYCLU and the Legal Aid Society have to wait until the judge is replaced.

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