Rev. Al Sharpton, Gwen Carr call for arrest of officers involved in George Floyd's death

For Eric Garner's mother, the pain of George Floyd's death was like “opening up an old wound, pouring salt into it.”
Image: Civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton and Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, lead a prayer at the site where African-American man George Floyd was fatally injured by police in Minneapolis
Civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton and Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, lead a prayer at the site where African-American man George Floyd was fatally injured by police in Minneapolis on May 28, 2020.Adam Bettcher / Reuters

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By Ryan Beals

MINNEAPOLIS -- Rev. Al Sharpton and Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, called for the immediate arrest Thursday of the four police officers involved in the death of George Floyd.

“You do not need anything more than you have now to arrest those four policemen. There is probable cause right now. You have a deceased person. You have a tape showing how he was deceased,” Sharpton said, speaking at a news conference with Carr held at the corner where Floyd died.

Sharpton introduced Carr by saying that had her son's 2014 death been prosecuted, "maybe Floyd would be alive today."

George Floyd.Courtesy photo

Carr said that she was there to stand in solidarity with Floyd's family. She described the pain of seeing the video showing Officer Derek Chauvin with his knee pressed to Floyd's neck before his death, saying it was like “opening up an old wound, pouring salt into it.”

Federal prosecutors did not pursue a case against the New York police officer shown putting Garner in an apparent chokehold in the infamous 2014 video where he is heard saying, "I can't breathe." Attorney General William Barr decided last July not to charge the officer.

Carr commended Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey after he called for Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to charge the arresting officer in the case.

Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network and host of MSNBC's "PoliticsNation," also addressed violent protests that took place in Minneapolis Wednesday night, saying, "The violence I'm addressing is how a man could hold a man down with a knee on his neck for nine minutes. That's when the violence started. The violence started on this corner when this man was choked to death, begging for his life. So we must act in a way to get justice. And to get fairness. We're not asking for a favor. We're asking for what is right."

Carr encouraged people to act politically, not violently.

“Voting is coming up. Don't sit around and say 'my vote don't count.' We put these politicians in, and we can take them out,” she told attendees. Her remarks were met with “We Can’t Breathe” chants from the crowd.

Following the press conference, Sharpton and Carr were on their way to the State Capitol to encourage elected officials to support the immediate arrest of the four police officers involved in the case.

Stacey Khizder contributed.