Rev. Al Sharpton Press Conference at Antioch Baptist
Civil Rights Activist, Al Sharpton & Attorney Ben Crump to hold a press conference ahead of the Prayer Vigil to be held this evening at Antioch Baptist Church, 1327 Fillmore, Ave., Buffalo at 7:00 pm. They will be joined by the families of the shooting victims Andre Mackneil, Geraldine Tally, and Ruth Whitfield.
During the press conference, Al Sharpton, of the National Action Network, called for federal legislation to be enacted for African American Hate Crimes. "He did not shoot them for who they were... He shot them for what they were" Sharpton said.
Sharpton spoke with the families as well as the employees of Tops Markets before the press conference.
He also made reference to how the Ku Klux Klan of old would hide there faces, but know through social media, perpetrators seek celebrity status while committing heinous acts of evil.
Ben Crump said "he knew exactly what he was doing... he's not a child". He is investigating holding gun manufacturers accountable.
Son of victim Geraldine Tally, Mark Tally said his mother "died by a hollow point bullet to the right temple, " Last time he spoke to his mother was Mother's day. In his eloquent and articulate speech, Tally referred to the current situation as "Ground Hog Day"., and believes that African Americans are "3rd class citizens". He used the analogy of a dog being part of a family, but people o f color are treated worse than dogs. He also referenced the Tulsa Massacre, the discriminating treatment of Vietnam Veterans, the war on drugs of the 80's causing the militarization of police and mass incarceration; compared to the opioid crisis where the effects are more prevalent in white communities and intervention programs have been initiated. He went as far as to call out the Federal Government prosecuting entertainers on RICO charges instead of opioid distributors, which are the pharmaceutical companies.
"Depending on what type of dog you have, its considered more valuable than the life of a Black person"
Ms. Veronica White (aunt), and Anthony Elliott (Nephew) spoke about Andre Makneil. He was the father of 5, and was shot in the back of the head, while trying to retrieve a birthday cake for his 3 year old son. In her very emotional speech, The family found out about his death on Facebook. "I can't believe someone can come into some ones town and shoot people down like dogs... That doesn't make sense to me"
Tarza Patterson, the former wife of Deacon Patterson stated she needs a village of strong men. 12 year old Jake Patterson, the only son of Deacon Patterson, was extremely shaken and couldn't speak. Rev. Al Sharpton embraced him for an extended period of time. Bishop Roderick Hennings was present with them.
Oldest daughter of Ruth Whitfield Angela was extremally emotional stating that she took her last picture with her on Mother's Day and became angry shouting " How could you". Garnell Jr stated his mother "Spent her life protecting her children from the violence she fell victim too." He also challenged the media, and politicians to stick the cameras in the parents of the shooters face. The youngest daughter Robin said, "I'm so proud of this city"
The Brady Center will join Attorney Ben Crumps team, pro bono, to hold everyone involved accountable.
Concluding the press conference Sharpton said "We have to go beyond sympathy and compassion and seek Justice and accountability:
Also present was Rev. Carl Washington of the NYS Ministers Conference, Rev Kerston John Floyd, Activist, and Rev Timothy Brown of the Baptist Ministers Conference of WNY.