Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Protesters Turn Out in U.S. Cities After Ferguson Decision
Police in Ferguson after renewed rebellion began on Nov. 24, 2014.
By Dow Jones Business News
November 25, 2014, 01:15:00 AM EDT

Protests in a number of U.S. cities were primarily peaceful Monday night following the decision by a grand jury not to indict a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager, though some vandalism occurred in at least one city.

Marches and rallies had been planned in many of the nation's largest cities, from New York to Chicago to Houston, regardless of the jury's finding.

In New York, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Union Square in Manhattan. When the grand jury decision was announced, word quickly spread through the crowd. In a few minutes, most were holding one fist up in the air as they observed a moment of silence that lasted nearly five minutes.

The only audible sound was the shutter of press cameras. Some demonstrators were in tears.

Then, with the cooperation of New York Police Department officers, the protesters began a spontaneous march, moving north along Sixth Avenue, blocking traffic. Protesters occupied several blocks as they marched toward Times Square.

"I feel like I don't have an outlet for my anger," said Monica Thompson, 29 years old, a social worker who lives in Harlem. "There's not been an indictment. There's an acceptance that black and brown lives don't matter."

A police helicopter hovered overhead as protesters marched and a large police presence accompanied the protest. No arrests were reported as of 10:30 p.m.

A sense of anger pulsed through the crowd. "They don't know what they just started," said Precious Etsekhume, 22, referring to the government and police. "They are going to regret every bad decision they made."

At a New York news conference, the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has worked to bring attention to the case since Ferguson officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown, called for a federal investigation into the shooting, saying he had no confidence in local prosecutors.

Mr. Sharpton said the grand jury's decision was expected but was "still an absolute blow to those of us that wanted to see a fair and open trial."

Mr. Sharpton appeared with the family of Eric Garner, a New York City man whose death was caused by an apparent police chokehold, according to the city's medical examiner. Mr. Garner's family didn't speak.

In Oakland, Calif., where street protests often have turned violent in recent years, a crowd of several hundred protesters filled more than two blocks of the downtown, moving through streets beating drums and chanting "shut it down for Michael Brown," as police in riot gear trailed them and helicopters roared overhead.

After more than an hour of marching, some in the crowd grew increasingly unruly and destructive. Young men smashed the windows of a Chase Bank branch, scrawled graffiti on buildings and dragged a garbage can into the street.

Earlier, they lay down in the street, blocking traffic while observing minutes of silence following the verdict. The protesters proceeded to move through downtown streets shouting epithets at the police and repeating a Ferguson-inspired rallying cry, "Hands up, don't shoot!"

Local TV reports say that some protesters have made their way into the I-580 freeway.

D'Andre Teeter, 70, from Berkeley, said before the grand jury's decision was announced that anything less than an indictment for murder would be an "outrage."

"We are out here to say this has to stop, and we think the whole country must come to a halt regardless of the outcome of the grand jury's decision," he said.

Across the bay in San Francisco, a crowd of a few dozen people gathered in the Mission District to await the grand jury decision. Carrying signs reading "Justice 4 Mike Brown," they booed and chanted, "The people say guilty! The people say guilty!" when the news came that Officer Wilson wouldn't be indicted.

In downtown Atlanta, a handful of civil-rights activists gathered outside the Richard B. Russell Federal Building to address the media after the verdict was announced. Markel Hutchins, an African American minister, choked back tears at one point when describing how frustrated he was by the decision.

"If you don't look like Michael Brown, or have a son or grandson or cousin that looks like Michael Brown, you will never understand why we feel the way we feel tonight," he said.

With unseasonably chilly temperatures that swept into the area Monday night, most of downtown Atlanta was desolate and no major disturbances were reported. Civil-rights leaders said they planned a peaceful protest Tuesday evening.

In Philadelphia, the city's police department was monitoring the situation and watching social media, said a spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter. The mayor earlier told reporters he recognizes the public's right to demonstrate but urged people to do so nonviolently.

According to the Associated Press, several hundred protesters marched through downtown Philadelphia, yelling, "No justice, no peace, no racist police!" A similar protest of about 50 people in Pittsburgh was short-lived, with activists saying they plan to regroup Tuesday at the federal courthouse, the AP reported.

Law-enforcement officials in Los Angeles said they had prepared for potential unrest in the nation's second-largest city, but a small protest march that started in Leimert Park in south L.A. blocked traffic along its route but otherwise remained peaceful.

As they marched on foot and on bicycles, the few dozen protesters carried signs, blew whistles and shouted: "If you're sick of the murdering police, outta your house and into the street." At one point, a few protesters briefly made their way onto a section of the I-10 freeway before police moved them back.

Cue Jnmarie, a 50-year-old pastor, said he met with police twice to prepare for the response to the grand jury's decision. He said he is pushing for public policy changes, and doesn't support violence. He said community organizers and religious leaders there aimed to do more than "blow off steam" about Michael Brown's death.

"This is not just happening now," he said. "It has been happening, and it's part of the culture."

Mr. Jnmarie described himself as a victim of racial profiling in Los Angeles and said the community is angry. "Police protect and serve everyone except people of color," he said.

"We do everything in our power to facilitate lawful, peaceful demonstrations as long as they don't become violent or destructive," said Andy Neiman, spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department.

In Seattle, where a protest march also was reported to be nonviolent, the police department said it hadn't made any major preparations for protests. The department prefers to take a "rather toned-down approach to that sort of thing," said Patrick Michaud, a Seattle police detective with the force's public affairs unit.

In Baltimore, two groups said they would wait until Tuesday afternoon to march through downtown, regardless of the grand jury's decision. "We want the time to have the largest gathering possible," said Sharon Black, local representative of one of the groups, the Peoples Power Assembly. "It's difficult to get a large, large group out in the middle of the night. We want our message to be heard."

Scott Calvert, Zusha Elinson, Joe Jackson and Caroline Porter contributed to this article.

Write to Alejandro Lazo at alejandro.lazo@wsj.com and Cameron McWhirter at cameron.mcwhirter@wsj.com

Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/protesters-turn-out-in-us-cities-after-ferguson-decision-20141125-00016#ixzz3K4BM0Cfb

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