BLACK VOICES

Civil Rights Leaders Call For March On Washington For Eric Garner, Michael Brown

NEW YORK -- Rev. Al Sharpton and a group of civil rights leaders announced Thursday that they are organizing a march on Washington to call for the federal government to intervene in prosecutions of police officers facing criminal charges.

Sharpton said the march will be next Saturday, Dec. 13, and the families of both Eric Garner and Michael Brown will attend.

"We'll be in Washington, demanding redress," Sharpton said, speaking at the headquarters of the National Action Network in Harlem. He was joined by representatives of the NAACP, the National Urban League and 14 other groups.

Sharpton compared the march to previous marches on Washington in 1964 and 1965 that led to the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Next week's march, he said, will advocate for a new policy that would strip local and state prosecutors of the ability to prosecute police.

The march is part of a "series of efforts that will lead to how we redo the grand jury review of policing in this country," Sharpton said.

One idea Sharpton suggested was to have the Department of Justice create an office specifically for prosecuting police. He pointed to previous cases in which the DOJ convicted police officers on civil rights charges. The NYPD officer who brutalized and sodomized Abner Louima 17 years ago, Sharpton said, is "eating lunch in a federal prison right about now."

He said local and state prosecutors are "conflicted" when they have to prosecute police because they often work so closely with police. The federal government, he said, has a "higher conviction rate of police."

Sharpton's announcement comes one day after a grand jury in Staten Island declined to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Staten Island man Eric Garner in July. Pantaleo put Garner into a chokehold during an arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes. The arrest was caught in a viral video that shows Garner screaming 'I can't breathe!' numerous times until his body goes limp.

"I can't breathe!" became a rallying cry at large protests Wednesday night in New York City and across the country.

Marc Moriel, president of the National Urban League, said Thursday that it "bordered on prosecutorial misconduct" that district attorneys in Staten Island and Ferguson, Missouri -- where 18-year-old Mike brown was shot and killed by a police officer -- didn't bring back indictments against the officers involved.

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BEFORE YOU GO

  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Demonstrators walk together during a protest December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Gran
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Demonstrators walk together during a protest December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Ju
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Ju
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Jessica Long of San Francisco holds a 'Justice for Oscar Grant' poster during a demonstration follo
    Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Jessica Long of San Francisco holds a 'Justice for Oscar Grant' poster during a demonstration following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The store was vandalized and looted last week during protests. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
  • WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03:  Essence Coggins, of Oxon Hill, Maryland, speaks as demonstrators block an intersection in the
    T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Essence Coggins, of Oxon Hill, Maryland, speaks as demonstrators block an intersection in the Adams Morgan neighborhood during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
  • WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03:  Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2
    T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
  • WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03:  Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2
    T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
  • WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03:  Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2
    T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
  • WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03:  Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2
    T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
  • WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03:  Demonstrators block an intersection in the Adams Morgan neighborhood during a protest against
    T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators block an intersection in the Adams Morgan neighborhood during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
  • WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03:  Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2
    T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Ju
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk together on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk together on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police follow protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police follow protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police clash with protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began aft
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police clash with protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police clash with protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began aft
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police clash with protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: A protester holds up Garner's photo while walking on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New Yor
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: A protester holds up Garner's photo while walking on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police watch protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police watch protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Ju
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police walk through protesters clash on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests b
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police walk through protesters clash on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Ju
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Ju
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police clash with protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began aft
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police clash with protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police arrest a protester on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after
    Yana Paskova via Getty Images
    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police arrest a protester on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
  • OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3:  Protesters face off following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a poli
    Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters face off following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
  • OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3:  Protesters demonstrate following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a p
    Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters demonstrate following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
  • OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3:  David Scott of Oakland leads a chant while marching down Broadway during a demonstration following
    Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: David Scott of Oakland leads a chant while marching down Broadway during a demonstration following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
  • OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3:  Protesters demonstrate following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a p
    Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters demonstrate following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
  • OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3:  Paulina Fraser (C), a social justice in education major at San Francisco State University, during
    Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Paulina Fraser (C), a social justice in education major at San Francisco State University, during a demonstration following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
  • WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03:  Demonstrators block traffic on Highway I-395 during a protest against a New York grand jury de
    T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators block traffic on Highway I-395 during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)