Protesters swarmed the streets of New York and other US cities last night in a largely peaceful protest following the decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of unarmed black civilian Eric Garner.
Thousands marched through the streets of the New York City, with one group carrying fake coffins bearing the names of police shooting victims. Groups also congregated at Times Square and the Staten Island ferry terminal.
The protests began during rush hour in the City and numbers taking part grew throughout the evening – with some reports suggesting a number as high as 15,000. Although the protests were largely peaceful, some arrests were observed by the media.
Hundreds chanted ‘I can’t breathe’ as they marched through Midtown Manhattan or laid their bodies end to end on the city’s West Side Highway. The protests, which carried through until this morning, remained civil and peaceful and no injuries were reported. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said today that almost all of the arrests were for disorderly conduct.
On Thursday the White House announced President Barack Obama and the New York mayor, Bill de Blasio, would join forces to work on relations between police and minority communities. Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, has announced a federal investigation into whether Garner’s civil rights were violated.
“We’ve had to talk to Dante for years about dangers he may face,” said de Blasio about the infamous ‘talk’ many parents of African American or mixed-race children have nationwide.
“I’ve had to worry over the years…Is my child safe? And not just from harsh realities…crimes and violence…are they safe from the people they want to have faith in (cops)?”
“Anyone who cares about the American value of justice should understand that this is a moment that change must happen,” said the mayor.
Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, de Blasio’s displeasure was clear when he said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Below is a video of the incident that led to Eric Garner’s death. The footage is particularly upsetting so discretion is heavily advised.