DETROIT (WXYZ) — Hecklers were very present during Wednesday's second Democratic presidential debate in Detroit. Those heckles were targeted at Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Cory Booker and Former Vice President Joe Biden as they were responding to questions.
Several protesters were removed from the Democratic Presidential Debate in Detroit after reportedly chanting "Fire Pantaleo" and "I can't breathe" during the opening statements of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
A photo on Twitter showed several of the people being removed for the chants, which put Booker's opening statement, which resumed shortly after the chants stopped.
The chants were in reference to New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is accused in the choking death of Eric Garner on Staten Island in 2014.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Justice Department announced it wouldn't file federal charges against Pantaleo.
De Blasio beat back repeated calls earlier this month for him to fire the police officer accused of using a fatal chokehold on Eric Garner five years ago, saying he was obligated to keep his opinions to himself until police department disciplinary proceedings are complete.
During the debate, de Blasio sent out a series of tweets about the protesters, saying in part, "I heard you. I saw you. I thank you."
I want the Garner family and every single person hurt by the tragedy of his death to know they are seen and heard.— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) August 1, 2019
We all watched Eric Garner's dying words. They haunted this nation. He NEVER should have died. #DemDebate
Later on in the evening, more protesters chanted "3 million deportations" while Biden spoke in response to immigration.
Two in the audience chant, “3 million deportations” as candidates debate decriminalizing the U.S. southern border pic.twitter.com/bF3fafyFcD— Claire Hao (@clairehaoTMD) August 1, 2019
The immigrants were shouting “Three million deportations” at Joe Biden because they are running a campaign to get candidates to commit to reunifying the record number of families deported under the Obama - Biden administration. pic.twitter.com/N5NBCJzuMe— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) August 1, 2019
The Democrat, who is running for president partly on his record of police reform, said he felt "it was an injustice of the highest order," that the U.S. Justice Department investigated Garner's death for nearly five years before announcing Tuesday that no civil rights charges would be filed.
But de Blasio would not say whether he believes whether the officer involved in the death, Daniel Pantaleo, should lose his job.
"I'm not going to venture personal opinions," de Blasio said. "When you're the steward of the entire city this is not about personal opinions."
They're yelling "Fire Pantaleo" -- at Cory Booker, for some reason.— Josh Barro (@jbarro) August 1, 2019