Drawing attention to the New York City policemen who killed Eric Garner and then walked, a NYC councilman representing Brooklyn refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance at a meeting on Wednesday, reports CBS New York.
In an image he posted to Instagram, Council member Jumaane Williams (D) can be seen sitting at his desk with his head lowered as the other members of the council stood for the pledge.
Accompanying the picture, Williams explained his action saying he was taking his protest public, “for a variety of reasons.”
“In good conscience I couldn’t continue to protest quietly without using it to highlight the plight of so many,” he wrote. “As a person who loves the country of his birth, believes in it and is privileged to have reached a modicum of success in his chosen field, I believe it is my duty to do all I can to raise the voice of those who feel voiceless and who struggle every day.”
In a statement he expanded on his protest, saying he was supporting NFL player Colin Kaepernick before adding he hoped more athletes joined in.
“I am choosing to recommit to this personal protest in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, who has bravely decided to kneel down during the national anthem in tribute to oppressed Black Americans. I only hope that local professional athletes will be inspired by this show of strength and join Colin in his protest,” Williams said. “This type of non-violent protest is not disrespectful as some have suggested. He deserves support, not criticism for his actions. What does it say about our country when there is a national outrage over an athlete sitting out the national anthem, but the same outrage isn’t expressed when a young Black man is killed for no reason.”
To bolster his case, Williams also took aim at New York City policeman Daniel Pantaleo who was not indicted after killing Eric Garner by using a chokehold.
“This man, who murdered Eric Garner, was not only not prosecuted or punished for his crime, he was rewarded with increased pay,” Williams said. “Where is the justice in that, especially as we struggle with issues of transparency when it comes to police records, including Panteleo’s, and are still fighting to have a vote on the widely supported Right to Know Act.”