Eric Garner was a son, husband, father of six and grandfather of two. As his family wept over his coffin Wednesday evening, the Rev. Al Sharpton took to the pulpit.
“We should not act as though we should be here today,” he told the few hundred mourners packed inside Brooklyn’s Bethel Baptist Church, many waving paper fans across their faces to fend off the heat. This funeral, he said, “never should have been in the first place.”
“And with all of our faith, you also must have courage to speak truth,” Sharpton said, his voice crescendoing. “Yes, God will make a way, but God expects some things out of us. And when you can, in broad daylight, choke one of God’s children, God expects us to stand up, and demand justice! And fairness!”
The crowd rose to its feet and clapped. There were shouts of “Talk about it!” and “Amen!”
Garner died last week after police officers in Staten Island tried to arrest him, and one officer used an illegal chokehold to bring him to the ground. He was 43.
“Let’s not play games with this,” Sharpton said. “You don’t need no training to stop choking a man saying, ‘I can’t breathe!’ You don’t need no cultural orientation to stop choking a man who says, ‘I can’t breathe!’ You need to be prosecuted and you need to be put away for a while!”
Source: Black Voices | Christopher Mathias