*Today, Eric Garner was laid to rest, but its doubtful he is resting in peace.
As members of his family and friends carried out the sad task of tending to the burial of this son, husband, father of six, and grandfather of two, the Rev. Al Sharpton stood solemn at 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 rising to a crescendo. “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!”
Those in attendance rose to their feet in solidarity with his words.
Garner, 43, died last week when police officers approached him after he had broke up a fight. He had a rep for selling untaxed cigarettes, and police made the assumption that this is what he was doing when they apprehended him, forced him to the ground, and proceeding to place him in an illegal choke-hold, even while he screamed, “I can’t breathe.”
Sharpton then referred to another Staten Island man who died at the hands of the NYPD in 1994. He said they marched for that man’s unjust circumstance; but noted that this is a new day, and with that new day, we now have video.
“Where’s Ramsey Orta? Come here, brother,” Sharpton called out to the young man who made his way through the crowd to join him at the pulpit. “This young man showed more respect for the law, for human life, for decency than the police and the EMS workers. They ought to follow his example. He turned around and said, ‘This is wrong, I’m gonna video it.’ This city ought to thank God that when the police and EMS failed us, there was a Ramsey Orta!”
Orta left the pulpit amidst cheers and hugs.
For more on this story, and additional incredible photos from Garner’s funeral ceremony, visit Huffington Post.