Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement gathered in New York city Monday night for a vigil in memory of a local activist who was killed by police while blocking a street during protests over police brutality. Activist and lawyer Eric Garner was killed by police in Staten Island, New York, last week and his death was caught on camera. The video, which has gone viral, shows officers restraining Garner as he repeatedly shouts, “I can’t breathe.” Garner died after being taken to a hospital.
The Black Lives Matter movement has seen a resurgence since the deaths of five Dallas police officers earlier this year. In the wake of the shootings and the subsequent killings of two white men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and in Minnesota, the movement has grown to encompass the deaths of over 1,000 black men and women at the hands of police every year.
Supporters of Sasha Johnson (inset, left) attended a vigil in south London on Monday evening (Picture: EPA/Reuters)
Well-wishers have attended a London vigil to the critically injured anti-racism activist shot in the head this weekend.
Mother-of-three Sasha Johnson remained in critical care on Monday evening following an operation, according to her political party.
Supporters gathered at a bandstand in Denmark Hill’s Ruskin Park, close to the hospital where she is being treated. They played drums, made speeches and prayed for Ms Johnson, 27, to pull through following the incident in Peckham in the early hours of Sunday.
The Taking the Initiative Party (TTIP) said on Monday night: ‘Sasha is currently in critical care and has recently undergone an operation and is in recovery post-surgery; we do not have any further information in relation to her recovery and/or if there is any permanent damage.’
The party again highlighted that Ms Johnson was the subject of previous death threats and said it had received further abuse since the shooting.
But it appeared to distance itself from suggestions that the Consort Road attack was targeting Ms Jones – saying ‘the truth is that we don’t know what has happened here’.
Police believe there is no evidence that the Black Lives Matter campaigner was the intended target of the shooting, while her friend Imarn Ayton, suggested that she was randomly hit in gang gunfire.
She told News: ‘There was a rival gang that may have heard about someone being in that party that they didn’t feel quite comfortable with or trusted and so they resorted to driving past and shooting into the garden, and one of those shots obviously hit Sasha Johnson.’
Dr Darren Henry, who knew Ms Johnson through community activism campaigns, called on those speculating about the shooting to ‘let the police do their jobs’.
He said: ‘We say, let the police do their jobs the way they are supposed to – but the community will be watching.
‘Like any shocking or horrendous crime in our community, we hope that the offenders are brought to justice and that there is no bias and no racism.
Friends and fellow activists held a vigil at Ruskin Park, Denmark Hill on Monday (Picture: Shutterstock)
The vigil saw people give speeches, play music and pray for Ms Johnson’s recovery (Picture: EPA)
‘Let the police do their watching and monitoring, but we are out here as well doing our watching and our monitoring.’
One speaker told the crowd in Ruskin Park on Monday: ‘In every community there are good eggs and bad eggs and we have to make sure those bad eggs are held accountable for their actions.
‘Because it’s not acceptable for those bad eggs to be attacking our warriors – be they male or female.
‘Warriors who are out there every day without pay working for our families, working for our communities.’
Mother-of-three Ms Johnson remains in critical condition near the bandstand (Picture: PA)
Two people embrace at the vigil (Picture: Shutterstock)
Ms Johnson was shot in the early hours of Sunday (Picture: Shutterstock)
TTIP said it had received messages ‘celebrating’ the attack.
Its statement read: ‘Since the incident, we have been receiving emails and social media messages celebrating Sasha’s attack, messages wishing she dies, calling her a racist, and wishing better luck to the shooter next time for not killing her and so on.’
But, it added: ‘We are appreciative of the kind messages and supportive words sent to Sasha and our team and pray that Sasha will make a full recovery.
‘Sasha has been passionately fighting for people and for equality for a long time and now, she is now fighting for her life.’
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