Multiple protests flare up at US Democratic debate

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CAPTION: Democratic presidential candidate Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (C) speaks while New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard listen during the Democratic presidential debate at the Fox Theater July 31, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (AFP photos)


The second Democratic presidential primary debate has been marked by multiple protests.

As the CNN debate kicked off at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on Wednesday night, the protesters called for the firing of New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo, the man blamed for the death of Eric Garner.

As New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took the stage the protesters in the audience shouted “Fire Pantaleo, fire Pantaleo!”

The calls continued even as New Jersey Senator Cory Booker took the stage, until the protesters were finally removed from the theater.

Booker later threw his support behind the protest on Twitter.

“To the folks who were standing up to Mayor de Blasio a few minutes ago—good for you. That’s how change is made,” he said.

Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, was detained by New York police on July 17, 2014 for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City.

Garner died on a sidewalk during his arrest by four policemen who pulled him to the ground while he gasped his final words “I can’t breathe.”

His death, which was caught on bystander video, played a key role in the rise of the movement decrying excessive use of force by police officers against black men and teens in the United States.

Pantaleo had his arm tightly around the suspect’s neck, while another pressed his head to the pavement. Garner then stopped moving and was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The US Justice Department later decided not to bring criminal charges against a white New York City police officer.

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