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Families demand NYPD 'accountability' for civilian deaths

Margarita Rosario, mother of Anthony Rosario who was

Margarita Rosario, mother of Anthony Rosario who was fatally shot by an NYPD officers in 1995, makes a statement before she and other family members who have lost loved ones over the last 20 years gather just before a meeting with the New York City Inspector General on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. Credit: Craig Ruttle

The NYPD's first-ever inspector general met last night with families of civilians killed in police encounters, while the Rev. Al Sharpton vowed to hold an anti-brutality protest march across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Aug. 23 over the objections of some Staten Island lawmakers.

It was the latest fallout of the death of Eric Garner, who died in what the city medical examiner said was homicide in an officer's banned chokehold during an arrest for peddling untaxed cigarettes. Labor unions representing police officers have accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of being unsupportive of cops.

"We deserve a fair, impartial reading of the facts, not the emotion otherwise," Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick J. Lynch said on NY1 last night.

Inspector General Philip Eure, whose job was created last year by the City Council in an uproar the NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactic, met with families whose loved ones had been killed in incidents over the past two decades. The meeting had been scheduled before Garner's July 17 death.

"We're here today because there's no accountability for officers that break the law, and they keep on breaking the law over and over every day," said Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham, an unarmed teen whom police chased into his home and in 2012 and shot to death. "There's nobody standing up for us mothers."

Graham had been pursued by narcotics officers who were suspicious of him. A Bronx grand jury declined to indict the officer, who said he mistakenly believed the teen was armed.

Eure's office declined to discuss the meeting.

Hours earlier Sharpton announced the planned bridge march with the powerful union boss George Gresham of the health care workers union 1199 SEIU at his side. His union was one of the few to endorse de Blasio in last year's Democratic primary.

Sharpton said the protest was aimed at "those that want to turn back the clock in this city."

Adam Lisberg, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which controls the bridge, said his agency "has not received any formal request for an event." Sharpton aide Kirsten John Foy said "we don't plan on" applying for a permit but would be seeking the NYPD's cooperation as Sharpton leads marchers on the upper roadway of the bridge.

Two City Council Republicans, Vincent Ignizio and Steve Matteo, called on the NYPD and MTA "to devise plans to prevent" the march and on the mayor to intervene to stop it.

They said it would inconvenience Staten Islanders and be disruptive to residents.

With Emily Ngo

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