On August 23, 2014, about 5,000 protesters peacefully marched through Staten Island to protest police brutality, spurred by the deaths of two black men by white police officers in the space of a month.
Originally, the march was organized to remember Eric Garner, who died in police custody on July 17 in New York. But on August 9, a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown during a dispute. Brown was unarmed. Several nights of rioting in St. Louis followed.
Garner died as NYPD officers were attempting to arrest him for allegedly selling illegal untaxed cigarettes in front of a beauty supply store on Staten Island. In a cell phone video, police officers place Garner in a chokehold and pin him to the ground. Garner, who weighed more than 300 pounds, can be heard pleading, “I can’t breathe,” multiple times. He was 43.