"If we go into an area where it's eye for an eye, then it is only a matter of who can out pluck eyes rather than who can make the system fair for everybody," Sharpton said.
Following the slaying of two New York City police officers, which was supposedly motivated by the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Rev. Al Sharpton has released a statement on behalf of the Garner family, saying that the killer's attack is not representative of the ongoing fight for justice.
"Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases," the statement read. "We have stressed at every rally and march that anyone engaged in any violence is an enemy to the pursuit of justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown."
On Saturday, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley assassinated two Brooklyn police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, while they were sitting in their squad car. Shortly after the shooting, Brinsley took his own life.
"They take 1 of ours, let's take 2 of theirs," Brinsley threateningly wrote on Instagram before the shooting. "I'm putting wings on pigs today." The ominous message was accompanied by a photo of a handgun.
Earlier on Saturday morning, Brinsley shot his ex-girlfriend, seriously injuring her, though she is expected to survive.
Both Sharpton and Garner's family agreed that Brinsley was not an activist for the cause; he was man who was suffering from mental illness. For this reason, they feel it's impossible to connect the slaying of the officers to the peaceful demonstrations across the country. Saturday's shooting was simply a tragic and senseless crime.
"If we go into an area where it's eye for an eye, then it is only a matter of who can out pluck eyes rather than who can make the system fair for everybody," said Sharpton yesterday at a press conference, where he later offered his condolences to the officers' families. "We have in every rally and march ... been very clear in stressing of nonviolence. We even would stop rhetoric that was wrong."
Garner's family agreed.
"Anyone that is standing beside us, we want you to not use Eric Garner's name for violence because we are not about that," said Gwen Carr, Garner's mother. "These two police officers lost their lives senselessly, and our condolences are with the family, and we stand with the family."