The event was sponsored by U.R.G.E.N.T. (United Residents of Garfield Engaging Neighborhood Transformation), which was formed after the killing. The group has organized protests to demand prosecution of the cops involved.
Speakers included mothers and other relatives of those killed by cops in New York and New Jersey.
Radio DJ Ron Kelly chaired the meeting. “Don’t let up on the fight for justice,” he said. “All the cops have to say after murdering one of us is ‘I thought my life was in danger.’ Running from the police should not be a death sentence. The police act as judge, jury and executioner.”
Margarita Rosario spoke about the cop killing and cover-up of her son, Anthony Rosario, and his cousin, Hilton Vega, two young Puerto Ricans shot a total of 28 times by New York City cops on Jan. 12, 1995. “My son Anthony was executed like an animal,” Rosario told participants. “He was shot 14 times face down on the floor. The city officials at the time said there was an investigation going on, but it was an investigation to protect the police. Mayor Giuliani said the cops’ actions were a ‘job well done.’”
In response to previous speakers who thanked some elected city officials for attending the meeting, Rosario said we should thank them only after they publically denounce the cops’ killing of Williams and join the marches.
“These cops need to be in jail serving time,” Rosario added, before leading chants of “No justice, no peace.”
Phillip Pannell, a Black teenager, was killed by cops in Teaneck, on April 10, 1990. His sister, Natasha Pannell, spoke and said her brother had his hands up when cops shot him in the back. “I believe in marching and rallying,” she said.
Also speaking was Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, an 18-year-old African-American killed by cops in the bathroom of his house on Feb. 2, 2012, in the Bronx. After failing to get into the house through the front door, the cops went into the building through the back, then kicked in the door to the apartment.
“Richard Haste, the cop who killed my son, is charged with manslaughter and is going to court tomorrow,” Malcolm said. “He and other killer cops need to be in jail.”
Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. sent a brief message to the meeting about his father, Kenneth Chamberlain, a 68-year-old African-American killed by the cops in White Plains, N.Y., in November 2011. The police responded to a false alarm from Chamberlain’s medical alert pendant. After he refused to open his door to the cops, they broke in, shocked him with a Taser and then shot him dead.
“The police do not serve and protect. There is no punishment for killer cops—no accountability,” said Danette Chavis, whose son Gregory was killed by the NYPD in 2004.
Yusef Salaam served seven years in prison after being falsely convicted along with four others in the case known as the Central Park Five. In 1989 they were charged with violently assaulting and raping a female jogger in Central Park. Salaam was 15 years old at the time. He praised the new Ken Burns documentary on the case, The Central Park Five, urging those in the audience to see it.
Salaam said New York City has served a subpoena on Burns for his sources for the film. Burns has refused to comply.
“We have a criminal system of injustice,” said Salaam, who ended his talk with poems he wrote in prison.
Chicago protesters demand torture cops ‘off the streets’
Fight to free more than 100 victims still in prison
‘I was 16 when I was tortured, framed up, jailed for 28 years’
Mark Clements tells how Chicago cops ‘stole my life’ and many others
Greetings to workers behind bars
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