Tuesday, November 25, 2014

More Protests in Wake of Grand Jury Decision on Ferguson
Detroit demonstration in solidarity with Ferguson on Nov. 25, 2014.
(Photo: Cheryl LaBash)
Melanie Eversley
USA TODAY 9:51 p.m. EST
November 25, 2014

Blocked highways, calls for boycotts and staged "die ins" in which people pretended to be dead on city sidewalks marked a second night of protests since the announcement that a grand jury would not indict a Missouri police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen.

Anger, frustration and sadness colored protests in Seattle, Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn., Asheville and Greeneville, N.C., Cincinnati, Detroit, New York and other places after the panel decided Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson would not face criminal charges in the August death of Michael Brown, 18.

In Ferguson, Mo., itself, where the fatal shooting took place during an altercation, the streets were relatively quiet early Tuesday night.

Only a few protesters stood on a main road in Ferguson and most businesses were closed. About two dozen members of the National Guard stood in front of the police and fire complex.

Elsewhere, people continued to express outrage, anger and sadness at a grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson on criminal charges in the incident involving the 18-year-old.

In Boston, thousands of protesters held up signs in the streets during a protest rally, according to tweets from WBZ TV reporter Christina Hager. One sign visible in a photo that she tweeted read, "Cops kill kids."

In New York, two people were arrested in large but relatively peaceful protests after a man through a jar of fake blood on Police Commissioner William Bratton. Local television during the evening rush hour showed a quiet crowd walking along a street in Midtown.

Protests took vigorously to the streets in the Midwest.

In Cleveland, where some residents also were questioning the shooting death by police of a 12-year-old boy over the weekend, police took a hands off approach as protesters spilled onto the Shoreway as the evening commute began to pick up. More than 250 people who'd marched from downtown's Public Square carried signs and blocked the highway for about 30-45 minutes.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told WKYC that the agency "would let the protest play out."

Cuyahoga County Sheriff Frank Bova echoed the police chief, saying, "We're allowing them their constitutional right to protest."

In Cincinnati, about 10 people were arrested as a group of 85 to 100 protesters blocked I-75. The gathering started peacefully, as Mayor John Cranley and Bishop Bobby Hilton addressed a crowd from the steps of the federal courthouse downtown. But afterward, the crowd marched through downtown and headed into oncoming traffic, eventually scaling barriers and emerging on the highway, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Tensions smoldered in other parts of the country too.

In Seattle, high school students and community members took part in a march organized by the NAACP and a group called United Black Clergy in the city's Central District and continued to a federal courthouse downtown. The high school students joined the march as it made its way toward downtown and Seattle Schools reported that about 1,000 students walked out of classes. Protesters chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot," as they marched through the streets. The group's message: Racial profiling must end regardless of the grand jury decision.

In Houston, protesters blocked streets and held up signs, based on images sent out by Twitter users. In one photo, a young black man held up a sign that reads, "This is not about the alleged stealing of cigars," an apparent reference to allegations that Michael Brown stole cigars before the altercation with Darren Wilson. "This is about the loss of life in a system that habitually criminalizes and kills black people."

But the protests were not limited to large cities.

In Poughkeepsie, N.Y., about 75 miles north of New York City, protesters planned to stage a "die in" in front of the Dutchess County Jail Tuesday night.

According to a statement by Community Voice Heard, the names of 300 "African Americans killed by police and vigilante violence will be read" and a sign held up reading, "Hands Up Don't Shoot," the Poughkeepsie Journal reported.

On social media, people called on black Americans not to shop on Black Friday this Friday in order to express their anger at the grand jury decision. Using the hashtag #BlackOutFriday, social media users pointed out black Americans' spending power and asked black Americans to stay out of stores.

"The Black Community has nearly 1.1 Trillion Dollars in Buying Power," tweeted New York-based social media consultant Mike Street, who began spreading the word on Monday along with media strategist Denitria Lewis and youth advocate L. Michael Gibson.

A group called Blackout for Human Rights also used social media to ask people not to shop on Black Friday as a form of protest. Tweeting under the handle @UnitedBlackout, the group said, "The time for change is now!"

Contributing: Aamer Madhani in Ferguson, Mo., The Associated Press

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