Eric Garner protesters express sympathy for mourning police as fourth arrest is made in Brooklyn Bridge beatdown

BY 

New York Daily News

Published: Saturday, December 20, 2014, 12:39 PM

Updated: Sunday, December 21, 2014, 1:34 AM

Zachary Campbell is walked from the 5th Precinct Saturday Dec. 20.
BARRY WILLIAMS FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWSZachary Campbell is walked from the 5th Precinct Saturday Dec. 20.

The nightly die-in at Grand Central Station to protest the death of Staten Island father Eric Garner became an act of solidarity on Saturday with cops mourning the loss of two of their own.

Instead of defiantly blocking foot traffic at the city transportation hub by sprawling out on the floor, a crowd of 15 sat peacefully as cops stood nearby and watched them.

As most sat quietly, some protesters gave cupcakes and cards to the officers dispatched there to maintain order.

NYPD officers salute as the bodies of their slain colleagues are removed from Woodhull Hospital.
JEFF BACHNER FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWSNYPD officers salute as the bodies of their slain colleagues are removed from Woodhull Hospital.

“This is about standing with any family that has had to bury their child, or father, or brother, or person that they love,” said protester Jessi Nakamura, 34.

“Murder is wrong and that’s that. We’re still going to be here, but we’re in support of you,” Lucy Sun, 25, told the cops standing near her. “Tonight we stand with you.”

Cops appeared stoic before the protesters, but their minds were elsewhere.

NYPD officers salute as the bodies of their slain colleagues are removed from Woodhull Hospital.
JEFF BACHNER FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWSNYPD officers salute as the bodies of their slain colleagues are removed from Woodhull Hospital.

“Everybody wants to go to the hospital and pay their respects, but they are keeping us here,” said an officer assigned to the protest. “I’m not in the mood for this s— today.”

The protest, which was expected to bring dozens of demonstrators, fell to a just a few after Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, shot and killed officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in cold blood in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.

Sun said she didn’t know if the officers’ deaths would spark a sea change in the city’s police-community relations — but she feared the worst.

“I’m frankly scared of where things are going from here,” she said. “I really just want to show people that we aren’t all violent.”

Ramos’ and Liu’s deaths come as a forth suspect wanted in the Brooklyn Bridge cop beatdown surrendered Saturday after his estranged wife confirmed to police that he participated in the unruly protest, authorities said.

Zachary Campbell, 32, was charged with riot, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration in the Dec. 13 protest.

Campbell, who was also arrested during a Dec. 4 protest of the Eric Garner case, turned himself in at the NYPD’s 5th Precinct stationhouse at 9:15 a.m.

Investigators were executing a search warrant on Campbell’s Brooklyn home Friday night when they instead came upon his estranged wife, Maria Garcia, 36.

Garcia, who resembled the image of a woman police sources had labeled “Female Suspect #1” in the Brooklyn Bridge attack, was arrested and charged with riot, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration.

Maria Garcia's lawyer, Jonathan Oberman argues for his client's release during her arraignment Saturday.
BARRY WILLIAMS FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWSMaria Garcia’s lawyer, Jonathan Oberman argues for his client’s release during her arraignment Saturday.

While speaking to detectives, Garcia spilled the beans on her hubby, prosecutors said.

“He was on the bridge that night,” she told police, according to Manhattan prosecutor Karl Mulloney-Radke. “He was there.”

But Garcia insisted she was a victim of mistaken identity. The Queens Library staffer and Rutgers doctoral student vehemently denied playing a role in the assault of two cops during the protest against police killings.

“That’s not me in the picture,” Garcia allegedly told cops, Mulloney-Radke said at her arraignment in Manhattan on Saturday morning.

Brooklyn Bridge protestor Cindy Gorn is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Dec. 20.
ALEC TABAK FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWSBrooklyn Bridge protestor Cindy Gorn is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Dec. 20.

“I was not there. That is not me on the bridge. I believe this is a mistake.”

Garcia appeared tense and nervous at her arraignment, as her lawyer insisted she had nothing to do with the protest assault.

Authorities say Garcia is 'Female Suspect #1' shown in this image from the scene that the NYPD released. 
Authorities say Garcia is ‘Female Suspect #1’ shown in this image from the scene that the NYPD released.
“We’ve spoken to no fewer than four or five people who would challenge the assertion that she was anywhere near the Brooklyn Bridge at the time this happened,” lawyer Jonathan Oberman told Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Tamiko Amaker.

Oberman described Garcia as the victim of a politically-charged witch hunt — a conclusion he said he reached after he had a conversation with a detective working the case.

“He said, ‘You know there is a lot of pressure coming down from the top. I’m sure enough to go forward with the arrest,’” Oberman recounted.

Garcia, after Amaker ordered her held on $1,000 bond, smiled and hugged her lawyer.

She refused to comment after walking out of the courthouse a short time later.

“I don’t want to speak,” Garcia said.

Cops are still hunting for at least four other suspects involved in the melee that left one officer with a broken nose.

This article originally appeared in The New York Daily News

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Author: sabrinacaserta

Sabrina Caserta, born and bred in Bronx, New York, is a freelance reporter whose work has appeared in the New York Daily News and Street Sense- a homeless-run street paper located in the District. As a member of Roger Williams University’s class of 2016, Sabrina studied Journalism and Political Science. This fueled her passion for social justice reporting, including issues of homelessness, institutionalized racism, poverty, education and the environment. She also served as the Project Director of the nation-brand initiative, The Re:Imagine Jamaica Project, and as a Resident Assistant for three years. As an avid reader, health enthusiast and travel addict, Sabrina enjoys yoga, cooking and writing in her spare time. She aspires to one day be an investigative journalist and travel the world. Twitter: @sabrinacaserta Email: sabcaserta AT gmail DOT com

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