Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams compared Charles Oakley's arrest and incident at Madison Square Garden to Eric Garner, who was killed by police while being placed under arrest in 2014. Adams held a press conference outside of Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
“Anytime you have a player who gave his heart and soul to the team and the city, to be treated in that fashion sends a chilling impact,” Adams said. “I saw this as Eric Garner without the chokehold.”
The police killing of Garner on Staten Island in 2014 was captured on camera and generated national outrage and debate over police killings of African–Americans. One officer placed Garner in a chokehold, and video famously captured Garner saying "I can't breathe."
On Friday, New York Knicks owner James Dolan announced that Oakley was banned from Madison Square Garden.
Oakley was arrested at Wednesday night’s Knicks game after an altercation with arena security. The incident reportedly began when Oakley heckled Dolan, with whom he has a longstanding feud.
Adams believes that Oakley should not be charged with assault and asked Dolan to lift the ban on Oakley.
“An assault charge is an assault where someone was injured,” Adams said.
Oakley, 53, played 10 seasons with the Knicks from 1988 to 1998. He has been upset with Knicks management that he has not been invited to participate in any of the team’s 70th anniversary celebrations.
Adams plans to meet with Dolan to discuss the incident. Oakley plans to hold a press conference this week. Rev. Al Sharpton has also called upon Mr. Dolan to lift the ban and reinstate Mr. Oakley’s privileges.