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SI Community Reeling from Eric Garner's Death Closely Watches Events in Missouri

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TWC News: SI Community Reeling from Eric Garner's Death Closely Watches Events in Missouri
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People in one Staten Island community who are still reeling from the death of Eric Garner in police custody are closely watching events in Ferguson as well, and a ride and march in Garner's honor this weekend will now also honor Michael Brown. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.

Talk to almost anyone in Tompkinsville, and chances are you'll hear one of two names: Eric Garner or Michael Brown.

"It's something that's always been hush, hush, and it's time to really recognize that it's affecting the youth," said one person in the community.

Garner, 43, died last month as officers were trying to arrest him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed him in a chokehold that was caught on video. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.

Last week, in Ferguson, Missouri, 16-year-old Michael Brown was killed by police. On Monday, Tompkinsville residents reacted to the private autopsy report that showed the unarmed teen was shot six times, with two of those shots to the head.

"That young boy was, he was executed," said one resident.

The National Action Network is organizing a protest this Saturday in honor of Garner, and now Brown. The Rev. Al Sharpton has said members of Brown's family may attend.

Residents said they expect people from all over will participate.

"I hope that we can all come together and maybe make a change," said one resident. "The police department needs to make some changes."

Residents said representatives from the Staten Island district attorney's office visited with them on Friday to answer questions about the Garner case. The DA's office wouldn't confirm the visit and would only say that its investigation is ongoing.

Pantaleo has been stripped of his gun and badge, but so far, no charges have been filed. Residents said if Pantaleo isn't charged, there's likely to be outrage.

"They can expect it. They can expect people to go hard. Yes they can," said one resident.

"I'm frustrated, and I'm angry," said another.

Over the weekend, residents were out papering the neighborhood with informational fliers about the ride over the Verrazano Bridge and march on Staten Island for Eric Garner. They said they'll be stepping up those efforts again as it gets closer to Saturday to encourage as many people as possible to come out and show their support.

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