About 15,000 people are expected to attend tomorrow's march against police brutality in Staten Island. And the NYPD is getting ready, reportedly assigning "hundreds of cops" to man the Rev. Al Sharpton-led route.
The march, led by Sharpton's National Action Network, is held in solidarity with the family of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who was killed when a cop placed him in a chokehold during an arrest last month. Though the city has not issued official permits for the march, the Post reports that Sharpton struck a deal with Mayor de Blasio that'll permit participants to carry on as planned—but not without a significant NYPD presence, apparently. According to the tabloid, about 350 officers have been assigned to the route, and a police source says they've been told to bring their "hats and bats"—riot gear comprised of helmets and nightsticks—along with them.
But contradictory sources told CBS 2 that while there were indeed hundreds of cops assigned to the march, their presence would be "as unthreatening as possible," with subdued police community affairs officers supported by a large number of undercover cops. Though Sharpton says the protest will be peaceful, the city has instated a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to unrest. "Those who might seek to come to disrupt, I would encourage if they do, don’t come,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said. “Because you’re not going be to allowed to disrupt.” A number of businesses along the planned route say they will be closed on Saturday, thanks to a "security alert" launched by the SI Chamber of Commerce.
Sharpton and supporters have been attempting to get the U.S. attorney's office to pursue a federal civil rights investigation into Garner's death. Yesterday, supporters asked US Attorney Loretta Lynch to launch such an investigation.