More than 170 U.S. cities protest Ferguson decision Tuesday
In Atlanta and Boston and New York and Los Angeles, they marched by the hundreds or the thousands — blocking bridges, tunnels and major highways as they shouted their anger over a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson.
A day after St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced there would be no criminal charges against Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, there were protests in more than 170 U.S. cities.
In the Big Apple, protesters shut down lanes of the FDR, known more formally as the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive, as they chanted, “Mike Brown! Mike Brown!”
It was just one of several long lines of demonstrators make its way through the city. Police, who were nearby in large numbers, stayed back and let the marchers go.
It’s not clear where the protesters were headed as they walked north up the FDR, but Tuesday’s events seemed more organized than those a night before.
In Washington, protesters lay down on a sidewalk outside police headquarters as if dead, according to a tweet by Nikki Burdine, a reporter for CNN affiliate WUSA.
Some had handwritten notes on their chests: “Black lives matter.”
There was a shocking moment at a demonstration in Minneapolis where a woman in a group blocking an intersection was run over by a car. The Star Tribune newspaper reported that the driver of the car honked at the protesters before knocking a few people onto the hood of the vehicle and apparently running over one of the woman’s legs. She was hospitalized with “very minor injuries.”
In Chicago, a few dozen protesters gathered Tuesday morning on a downtown street corner ahead of another protest at City Hall, CNN affiliates WGN reported. About 200 members of the Black Youth Project staged a sit-in outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office Tuesday afternoon. They plan to be there for 28 hours.
Protesters in the New York area briefly blocked one of the entrances to the Lincoln Tunnel Tuesday evening but then headed off to the city’s West Side.
And at Union Square, about 400 people had gathered shortly after dark before breaking into groups of marchers.
There were also large demonstrations in Baltimore, near Morgan State University, and in Atlanta, outside CNN Center and at a popular tourist shopping attraction.
In Atlanta: ‘It’s a travesty’
The Public Enemy anthem pumping from mounted speakers at a protest in downtown Atlanta captured the mood of the crowd Tuesday night.
“Fight the Power,” the rapper’s voice shouted over the speaker. “Fight the powers that be. …”
About 300 people tried to follow Public Enemy’s advice when they gathered to protest the grand jury’s decision.
As helicopters circled above, black college students, white urban hipsters in skinny jeans, middle-aged socialists and black militants in berets gathered for a raucous rally to vent their anger at the events in Ferguson.
“They have given us no justice! We will give them no peace,” the demonstrators chanted at they massed in front of the Underground Atlanta shopping district.
Some held signs that read: “Enough,” and “We are all one bullet away from being a hashtag.” One demonstrator wore a T-shirt that read, “Racism isn’t over but I’m over racism.”
“It’s a travesty; it’s just not right,” ShaCzar Brown said as held up a sign that said, “Stop killer cops.”
“Seventy years ago, it was legal to kill black people,” Brown says, referring to the spate of lynchings that spread through the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “It’s essentially still legal.”
Atlanta, birthplace of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., also saw emotional reaction Monday night when about 200 students gathered at Morehouse College to hear the grand jury’s decision. A collective gasp rippled through the crowd when it came.
Some of the students at the historically black men’s school looked at one another in disbelief, others started to tear up, and a few stared ahead as their jaws dropped.
Police sirens wailed in the distance as the students chanted: “Ferguson’s hell is America’s hell.”
Kevin Harvey, a senior dressed in a blue blazer, button-down shirt and penny loafers, walked away from the demonstration with his head down. He said he was angry and bewildered by a storyline that’s become all too familiar.
“I’m afraid to raise my son in this country,” he said. “When I do have a family, I’m afraid to raise him in this country and that’s a terrible thought. Because I know that he is not valued.”
During the night, some demonstrators lined up on the busy section of freeway known as The Connector that cuts through the center of Atlanta. Law enforcement came along and used their cars to guide the demonstrators to the shoulder.
Largely peaceful protests
“I think what happened yesterday is a great injustice to everyone that’s been fighting for equality in this country,” one Chicago protester told WGN on Tuesday. “And I think that just because a bad decision was made doesn’t mean people who believe in equality are going to fall silent.”
As of Tuesday evening, more than 130 protests had either occurred or were planned for Tuesday in more than 30 states, the District of Columbia and at least three other countries, according to information compiled by CNN from organizers, media reports, social media and a site set up to help organize protest efforts.
Protests sprang up around the nation Monday night, after the announcement of the grand jury’s decision not to charge Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in Brown’s August 9 death.
Most were peaceful, compared with the protests in Ferguson. There, demonstrators set police vehicles ablaze and officers responded with round after round of tear gas, as well as shooting bean bags into the crowds.
In Minneapolis, students at several high schools staged sit-ins to protest the decision, the city’s public school district said in a statement.
“We will not discipline students for the act of protesting as long as the protest remains peaceful,” the district said. “However, prolonged sit-ins may result in an unexcused absence from class.”
In Richmond, Virginia, about 500 students turned out for a calm protest at Virginia Commonwealth University on Monday night, according to CNN iReporter Alexandria Cooper. “I am deeply saddened by the decision to not indict Officer Wilson,” she said.
In New York, a roving crowd accompanied by police wound its way through the city, surging to more than 1,000 in Times Square before heading toward the Upper West Side, CNN’s Miguel Marquez tweeted.
Police arrested a 21-year-old Brooklyn man after he allegedly threw red liquid resembling blood on police Commissioner William Bratton as Bratton walked through Times Square, CNN affiliate WABC reported.
Earlier in the evening, about 200 people flocked to Union Square, brandishing signs that read “Jail killer cops” and a large display, in lights: “Black lives matter.”
Protesters knocked down barricades and headed toward the West Village before turning north, accompanied by police.
Emotions boiled over in Philadelphia, too.
“Shouts of ‘f— the police’ at word of no indictment,” a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter tweeted. “A man with the mic: ‘we don’t need to get mad.’ Others: ‘yes we do!’ ”
Two people were taken into custody, according to CNN affiliate WPVI. The protesters were arrested when a crowd tried to march onto Interstate 95, the station said.
In Oakland, California, shop owners posted signs in their windows that said “We support Michael Brown” as marchers took to the streets.
A crowd filled the intersection at 14th and Broadway, and some demonstrators lay down in chalk outlines, reports on social media showed. Later, they merged onto Interstate 580, shutting down traffic.
Some protesters stood on top of an unmarked police car and spray painted it, according to CNN affiliate KTVU.
In Seattle, anger turned to violence as protesters threw bottles, rocks and cans of food and fired a powerful firework toward police, according to CNN affiliate KIRO.
Five people were arrested, the station said, citing police.
“Same story every time, being black is not a crime,” protesters shouted, KIRO reported.
In Los Angeles, a city still scarred by the riots of 1992, silent protesters staged a demonstration at La Brea and Wilshire. On Tuesday, Los Angeles police said on Twitter that three people had been arrested in Ferguson-related protests. Later in the day, protesters blocked traffic on busy Crenshaw Avenue.
A group also assembled in front of the Colorado Capitol in Denver calling for nonviolence, according to CNN affiliate KMGH.