The mourners trickled slowly into the crowded church. Inside, a huge man lay in a white casket topped by white and yellow flowers — a man who in life was known to few outside his Staten Island neighborhood.
In death, though, Eric Garner has become a symbol of policing gone awry: He was videotaped as he was put into an apparent chokehold by police officers. His case has jolted a city that began the year with a new mayor, Bill de Blasio, and a new police commissioner, William J. Bratton, vowing better lives for people such as Garner: black men living far from the glassy skyscrapers and shaded brownstones of the well-heeled.
Civil rights leaders and other New Yorkers say Garner’s death July 17 shows the need for faster change in the New York Police Department.
“People in all five boroughs are fired up. They’re fired up right now because we don’t like this,” said Isaac L. Mickens, a pastor, community activist and friend of Garner’s family. “We need action.”
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