Demonstrators took to the streets of New York City hours after a grand jury announced its decision Wednesday to not indict the white officer involved in the death of an African-American man in Staten Island.
Earlier in the evening they blocked the West Side Highway before moving on, marching across the entire midtown area.
In Grand Central, police in riot gear spread out in the station to keep the peace.
Forty-three-year-old Eric Garner was filmed being placed in an apparent chokehold — a banned NYPD practice — by officer Daniel Pantaleo last July. In the video, Garner can be seen repeatedly exclaiming, “I can’t breathe!” before going limp.
Angry about the grand jury’s decision — especially in the aftermath of another high-profile non-indictment of a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri — protesters started to fill Times Square, Union Square and other places in Manhattan, as well as the Staten Island street where Garner died.
In addition to clogging streets, demonstrators repeatedly clashed with police and attempted to disrupt the Rockefeller Center’s annual tree lighting. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told CNN at roughly 10 p.m. that about 30 protesters have been arrested so far.
“I can’t breathe!” some chanted, accusing the justice system of discriminating against young men of colour.
“No justice, no peace!” others shouted.
A Brooklyn man named Marvin Knight came to the protest carrying a trio of large signs. One declared: “Eric Garner Michael Brown Both Dead Because Of A Lack Of Money.” Another said, “Koch Brothers You Didn’t Build That God Did.” The third declared: “Kill Donald Trump — Reward Three Hots And A Cot.”
After a group of protesters turned away from the West Side highway towards Times Square, Business Insider asked a nearby police officer if they were letting the demonstrations go wherever they wished.
“Yeah, pretty much,” he replied.
Here’s a video of the protests taken from Times Square:
Here are some tweets documenting what is happening around the city:
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