Protests continued for the second night in New York City on Thursday after a grand jury decided to not indict the police officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner. These protests added to the unrest that started last week after a separate grand jury in St. Louis did not indict officer Darren Wilson, the cop responsible for the killing of Michael Brown.
Both cases involved police officers killing unarmed black men. But whereas the details of the last 90 seconds of Michael Brown’s life are the subject of debate, the video of Eric Garner’s chokehold death shows exactly how his life was ended.
Protesters in New York’s Foley Square were well aware of this. They chanted “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breath!” — Eric Garner’s last words.
The night of protest started in Foley Square, where thousands of people gathered and broke into multiple marches. They were joined by another large march that left from Union Square. Reports started coming in quickly of marches pausing at intersections and blocking traffic as demonstrators chanted. One group shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, which was illuminated by spotlights from helicopters hovering overhead.
Police formed a line in front of the march as it advanced toward West Highway changing “Shut it down!” The protesters chanted for 10-15 minutes to be let past, as some marchers moved to the sidewalk to continue past the police line. During one of these standoffs protestors walked on their knees holding their hands up as they advanced on the police line, causing the officers to back up.
Motorists joined in the protests by leaning out of their car windows and chanting with the marchers, who yelled “Eric Garner, Michael Brown. Shut it Down! Shut it Down!”
People were still marching in Manhattan at midnight, and had been pepper sprayed. Police used a LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) to disperse protesters.
New York City isn’t done yet. More marches are already being organized on Facebook.