The police lobbed tear gas in response as a few hundred protesters
took to the streets, with some setting fire to a police cruiser and
another car and some buildings.
Across the United States, the grand jury's decision sparked mainly
peaceful protests as Americans spoke out on racial bias and police
violence, issues so raw and emotional that they are often like a
tinderbox waiting for a match.
In New York marchers chanted "Black lives matter" as they snarled
traffic in Times Square. In Chicago, demonstrators walked up Lake
Shore Drive carrying banners that read "Justice for Mike Brown" -
the 18-year-old who was shot and killed in Ferguson on Aug. 9 by
police officer Darren Wilson. In Seattle, protesters blocked a
downtown street in a "die-in" protest as they lay down on the
Protesters in both Boston and Seattle observed the 4.5 minutes of
silence that the Brown family requested after the decision was
announced, with protesters in Boston then marching from City Hall to
Police in Ferguson used smoke canisters and trucks to force waves of
violent protesters down the street away from the police building
soon after sporadic gunshots were heard. Flames from a burning car
rose into the night sky.
Whistles pierced the air as some of the hundreds of protesters tried
to keep the peace, shouting, "Don't run, don't run."
Police who formed a wall of clear riot shields outside the precinct
were pelted with bottles and cans as the crowd surged up and down
the street immediately after authorities said the grand jury had
voted not to indict Officer Darren Wilson.
"Murderers, you're nothing but murderers," protesters in the crowd
shouted. One woman, speaking through a megaphone said, "Stinking
Dozens of police and military vehicles were poised for possible mass
arrests not far from the stretch of Ferguson streets that saw the
worst of the rioting after Wilson shot Brown in August.
"They need to feel the pain these mothers feel at the (expletive)
cemetery," shouted Paulette Wilkes, 40, a teacher's assistant who
was in the crowd at the police department.
A smaller, calmer crowd of about three dozen protesters gathered
outside the courthouse where the grand jury had met. In that crowd,
a white woman held a sign that read: "Black Lives Matter." Many of
the protesters looked stunned.
"That's just how the justice system works - the rich are up there
and the poor are down here," said Antonio Burns, 25, who is black
and lives in the Ferguson area. The police "think they can get away
with it," Burns said.
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A handful of Amnesty International volunteers in bright vests tried
to maintain the peace. Brown's family urged a non-violent response
to the grand jury's decision.
Officials urged tolerance and assured residents that the National
Guard would provide security at critical facilities like fire
houses, police stations and utility substations.
"I do not want people in this community to think they have to
barricade their doors and take up arms," St. Louis County Executive
Director Charlie Dooley said before the grand jury's decision was
In Los Angeles, at least 50 demonstrators tried to walk onto the
Santa Monica Freeway from an off-ramp to block traffic, but they
peacefully obeyed orders from California Highway Patrol officers to
turn back, CHP spokesman Edgar Figueroa said.
A "handful" of protesters who apparently climbed up from another
direction managed to dash the freeway as police were arriving on the
scene, Figueroa said. No one was injured and there were no arrests,
but the freeway was shut down in both directions for about 10
minutes until the incident was over, he said.
Figueroa said the freeway intrusion was an offshoot of
demonstrations held in Leimert Park, a predominantly
African-American neighborhood of Los Angeles.
(Additional reporting by Adrees Latif in Ferguson, Sascha Brodsky
and Paul Thomasch in New York, Scott Malone in Boston, Fiona Ortiz
in Chicago, Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Writing by Barbara Goldberg,
Eric Walsh and Peter Cooney; Editing by Paul Tait and Leslie Adler)
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