Sharpton Rallies for Slain Unarmed Black Men

The civil rights leader held a rally at his Harlem-based National Action Network Saturday before heading out Sunday to Ferguson, Mo., to call for justice in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

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The Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, on April 11, 2014.

John Moore/Getty Images

Updated Saturday, Aug. 16, 1:57 p.m. EDT: In an effort to show solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, Mo., the Rev. Al Sharpton Saturday rallied at his New York City, Harlem-based civil rights headquarters alongside the family of a Staten Island man who was also slain by a police officer, CBS New York reports.

Family members of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died after an officer placed him in an illegal chokehold, called for justice in his case and in that of Michael Brown, who was gunned down by an officer last weekend in Ferguson.

Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, encouraged protesters to proceed peacefully at next week’s combined rally for Garner and Brown, according to 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern, the report says.

“We’re not gonna start fightin’ and pushing each other and breaking windows, right?” Carr said Saturday at the National Action Network rally, CBS News reports.

Sharpton plans to travel Sunday to Ferguson to lead another march and rally. The Rev. Jesse Jackson walked the streets Friday with demonstrators in a peaceful protest.

Earlier:

An eruption of anger ended a tenuous calm in Ferguson, Mo., early Saturday as police and protesters clashed, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Police and about 200 protesters clashed after an emotional day, which was fueled by a report that Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was fatally shot by an officer last weekend, allegedly stole a $48.99 box of cigars from a convenience store and strong-armed a clerk on his way out, the report says. At the same time, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released the name of the officer involved in the shooting.

About midnight, some protesters in what had been a large but mostly well-behaved crowd broke into the small convenience store—allegedly robbed by Brown—and began looting it, said Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, according to Fox News.

Johnson said some members of the crowd threw rocks and other objects at the police, injuring one officer, Fox News reports. Further details about the injury were not available.

Additionally, Johnson said that police tried to ease tensions by backing off from the crowd, whose members may have looted nearby stores, the report says. No arrests were made.

After nearly a week of unrest in the suburban community, prominent civil rights leaders are scheduled to arrive this weekend to call for justice.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Friday was among hundreds of demonstrators who lined the streets for the sixth straight night to protest the shooting of Brown by six-year officer Darren Wilson.

CBS News reports that passing motorists honked their horns as demonstrators lined the streets. Many protesters held signs with slogans such as "We want justice" and "No justice, no peace."

Jackson locked arms with other protesters “as they walked through the streets to the site where Brown was killed. The prominent civil rights activist bent over in front of a memorial cross and candles and let out a deep sigh,” CBS reports.

The Post-Dispatch reported that he encouraged the crowd to continue protesting but to avoid violence.

“You can reshape an iron while it's hot, but don't destroy yourself in the process,” Jackson said, according to the newspaper. “Don’t self-destruct.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who was in the city earlier in the week, is slated to return Sunday to lead a rally, according to a news release received by The Root. The visit is slated to come after a rally Saturday morning at his Harlem-based National Action Network, where he plans to address “the smear campaign against Michael Brown and the fact that it is meaningless in regard to his killing,” the release states, referring to the teen’s alleged involvement in a strong-arm robbery.

Sharpton was not the only one upset by the release of the robbery information. Brown's family blasted the decision Friday. The family's attorney said the alleged crime was no justification for shooting the unarmed teen.

Meanwhile the Washington Post reports that "in an unusual public disagreement, the law enforcement official newly in charge of security in Ferguson appeared to question the decision to name Brown as a robbery suspect.”

“‘I would have liked to have been consulted,’” Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson said Friday, according to the Post, adding that he would meet with the Ferguson police chief about how the information was released.

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