of protesters expected in Washington, NYC over police killings
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[December 13, 2014]
By Ian Simpson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of
demonstrators were expected in Washington and New York on Saturday to
protest the killings of unarmed black men by U.S. police and to urge
Congress to protect citizens.
Organizers said the protests would be among the largest over
police tactics and the killings of black males by officers in New
York, Cleveland and Ferguson, Missouri.
The lack of criminal charges from grand juries in the New York and
Ferguson cases have galvanized protests around the United States.
"We need more than just talk; we need legislative action that will
shift things both on the books and in the streets," civil rights
leader the Rev. Al Sharpton, whose National Action Alliance is
heading the Washington protest, said in a statement.
Sharpton said Congress needed to pass legislation that would let
federal prosecutors take over cases involving police. Local
prosecutors who work with police regularly and then must investigate
officers face a conflict of interest, he said.
The Washington protest will include the families of Eric Garner and
Akai Gurley, who were killed by New York police; Trayvon Martin,
slain by a Florida neighborhood watchman in 2012; and Michael Brown,
killed by an officer in Ferguson.
The march will start at noon and block Pennsylvania Avenue between
the White House and the U.S. Capitol. Protesters are expected to
arrive by bus from as far away as Florida, Connecticut and
Pittsburgh, according to the organizers' website.
In New York, the march was expected to draw about 44,000 people and
was meant to reinvigorate protests that swelled after a grand jury
declined to indict the officer who killed Garner using a choke hold,
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“It’s open season on black people now,” New York march co-organizer
Umaara Elliott said in a statement. “So we demand that action be
taken at every level of government to ensure that these racist
killings by the police cease.”
The march was to start at 2 p.m. at Washington Square, go to midtown
Manhattan and then turn downtown to end at New York Police
Department headquarters in lower Manhattan.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson)
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