Mothers of Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham Rally Outside City Hall for Policing Legislation

What to Know

  • The song release marks the second anniversary of Eric Garner's death
  • He died while in a police chokehold
  • The song can be purchased on iTunes and Apple Music and will be available from other digital retailers on Saturday

The mothers of Eric Garner and Ramarley Graham rallied outside City Hall Wednesday afternoon in a call to resurrect policing legislation. 

The mothers of Garner, who died in a police chokehold on Staten Island two years ago this weekend, and Graham, who was shot and killed in his Bronx bathroom by an officer in 2012, said they believe the Right to Know Act might have saved their sons' lives.

The Right to Know Act requires police officers to ask for consent when they search someone without a warrant. Officers would have to identify themselves and tell the person they have the right to say no to the search, and then write out a slip with information documenting the search took place.  

"They have to start respecting us and the Right to Know bill will bring respect to us," said Gwen Carr, Garner's mother. 

Though there was widespread support for the bill in the City Council, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced she had made a private agreement with the police commissioner to change police procedure in the patrol guide instead of moving forward with the legislation.

Critics said that waters down the legislation.

"The policies in the patrol guide have not saved us before," said councilman Jumaane Williams. "The policies in the patrol guide are routinely ignored." 

"The chokehold has been banned for decades," Carr pointed out. "Did they follow it? No. Did they stand accountable for it? No."

Both Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio say changing the patrol guide accomplishes the same things as the bill, and will still work to prevent police interactions from spiraling out of control the way they did with Garner and Graham.

"There's a commitment that within the next nine months every officer will be trained on these new policies and procedures," said Mark-Viverito. "That is very explicit, it's very clear. It's very quick."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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