For the second night in a row, thousands of people flooded major roads and thoroughfares in cities across the country in protest of the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Monday evening, St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced that the grand jury would not charge the Ferguson police officer responsible for the death of the African-American teen. Within minutes, the announcement sparked demonstrations around the country.
In Columbus, Ohio, more than 200 people peacefully marched in response to the Ferguson grand jury decision. Rashida Davison, 24, helped organize the demonstration in Columbus. “We’re fed up,” Davison told the crowd. “I kind of knew it would happen, but it doesn’t make me less fired up.” Marchers also called attention to the police-involved deaths of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and 37-year-old Tanisha Anderson of Cleveland.
In Washington, DC, protesters peacefully marched through the Chinatown area, stopping briefly at one of the city’s newest Walmart locations to show solidarity with workers demanding a living wage. Dozens of DC protesters were ushered out of the store while security temporarily locked the entrance, but the march proceeded without incident from local police monitoring activity nearby. Local organizer, Erika Totten, told the crowd gathered in Washington why she committed to the months-long series of demonstrations that have gone forward for Ferguson. “I was shot at, and teargassed in Ferguson,” she said. “I am a mother. That’s what got me off my couch.”
Monday in Ferguson, some protests turned violent with officers launching teargas canisters into the crowd following claims that protesters threw bricks at police. Patrol cars were set on fire and at least 12 local businesses were damaged during riots that both organizers and police say were far worse than any night in August. Some churches and pre-designated safe houses were gassed by police. Multiple accounts emerged of reporters being blinded by teargas or “manhandled” by police in Ferguson, despite the state’s insistence that officers trained for 5000 hours to avoid repeating scenes captured in August of officers violating protesters constitutional right to assemble and stifling press coverage.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called for 2200 National Guard troops to respond in Ferguson, where at least 61 arrests were made for a range of offenses including unlawful assembly, destruction of property, and arson. In Oakland, California, officers defended their handling of protests after police in riot gear responded to the Monday night demonstrations. In Seattle, Washington, portions of Interstate 5 were shut down by protesters. There, police said they were struck by rocks and canned goods, prompting five arrests on Monday night.
Tuesday, arrests outside of Ferguson far exceeded the town itself. At least 120 satellite demonstrations were carried out peacefully in solidarity with the Ferguson community, and in solidarity with local incidents involving law enforcement and charges of excessive force. Downtown Los Angeles saw the greatest police response on Tuesday night. At least 130 people were arrested following marches that repeatedly shut down major freeways and intersections. According to local news reports, 10 demonstrators were arrested in downtown Manhattan. Hundreds of people stopped traffic, walking between cars on FDR Drive in New York, largely without incident.
Nationwide protests continued Wednesday morning, as hundreds of student demonstrators led a march from Morehouse College to the CNN Center in Atlanta.
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