During Wednesday night's debate, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was forced to discuss why NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is responsible for killing Eric Garner, has yet to be fired.
The group who interrupted the end of de Blasio's opening statement and the beginning of Sen. Cory Booker's statement, included Women's March co-founders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour, Rev. Kirsten John Foy, rapper Mysonne and activist Angelo Pinto.
According to Mallory, the group "made the decision to stand up for Eric Garner and the sanctity of Black life." Specifically, the group wanted to point out de Blasio's "misrepresented" stance on Stop and Frisk and the fact that Pantaleo has yet to be fired.
In a Twitter thread, Mallory said the group didn't interrupt Booker but the Detroit Police Department did when they removed the protestors from the debate.
This is a thread about what occurred at the Democratic Debate when @KirstenJohnFoy @Mysonne @angelopinto720 @lsarsour and I made the decision to stand up for Eric Garner and the sanctity of Black life. #DemDebates— Tamika D. Mallory (@TamikaDMallory) August 1, 2019
We chanted “Fire Pantaleo” after he concluded and it was over. We went back to enjoying the debate. A security officer came over to us and said as long as you stay quiet you can remain.— Tamika D. Mallory (@TamikaDMallory) August 1, 2019
Then minutes later after multiple candidates spoke, a police officer came over & showed us his cuffs & said if we didn’t leave we’d be arrested. We stayed seated and then they forcibly removed us. We chanted “Fire Pantaleo” & “I can’t breathe” as we were being removed.— Tamika D. Mallory (@TamikaDMallory) August 1, 2019
We did NOT interrupt @corybooker, it was the Detroit Police Department that interrupted Booker and the debate to intimidate peaceful protesters for standing up for the dignity of Black life that had already completed protest minutes ago. This is our right. We won’t be silent.— Tamika D. Mallory (@TamikaDMallory) August 1, 2019
During an interview after the group was escorted out, Rev. Kirsten John Foy said they didn't interrupt Booker.
"They interrupted Cory Booker. We made our statement and they decided, minutes later, that they were going to come back and escort us out after we had made our statement. We were done and ready to enjoy the rest of the debate," Foy told reporters.
What was the interruption when Cory Booker spoke at #demdebate @KirstenJohnFoy says he and other protesters were actually taking aim at Bill de Blasio, saying “fire Pantaleo,” the NYPD officer who fatally choked Eric Garner. pic.twitter.com/qNAQdCKBeY— Lindsey Ellefson (@ellefs0n) August 1, 2019
In a separate interview, Foy said the group was motivated to point out de Blasio's lack of leadership for failing to fire Pantaleo.
According to Foy, de Blasio failing to fire Pantaleo, "the killer of Eric Garner, the man who died, who was choked to death in front of the whole world, had been continued to enrich himself in the city of New York by remaining on the police force, by padding his pension, by getting raise after raise. He's richer today than before he killed Eric Garner and it's under this mayor's watch that this was allowed to happen."
De Blasio claims to be a progressive but Foy said the mayor needs to "get up and show us your progressive credentials. Don't say you're for creating a more equitable society for everyone when back home you're allowing police officers to kill without recourse or any accountability."