Protests in New York and other U.S. cities continued Thursday, following a New York grand jury's decision not to charge a white police officer in the death of an unarmed African American man.
Demonstrators in New York and other American cities, from Chicago to Minneapolis, protested Thursday over a New York grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner. The case has become another flashpoint for the issue of police use of excessive force against people of color in many American cities, as President Obama acknowledged Thursday.
"Too many Americans feel deep unfairness when it comes to the gap between our professed ideals and how laws are applied on a day-to-day basis," said Obama.
Graduate student Monica Melton demonstrated in New York early in the evening, before the peaceful protests closed several major arteries.
“It’s becoming a really disturbing and unfortunate trend with Michael Brown, Eric Garner and countless others. And I wanted to show my support, and say that this is not something that is going to be tolerated,” said Melton.
New York Mayor Bill Di Blasio said the city’s police force will undergo three days of retraining to reduce unnecessary use of force and give confidence to all New Yorkers that they will be treated equally.
“They need to know that in doing this crucial work, our police will always, with every fiber of their beings, avoid any needless injury, and God forbid, avoid any death that could have been stopped. People need to know that, they need to feel that,” said de Blasio.
In Cleveland, Ohio, where police shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November while he was holding a fake gun, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department’s nearly two-year-long review of Cleveland police found a pattern of excessive force and that the department will come under federal supervision.
“The city has acknowledged that the department’s findings raise issues of importance to people really throughout this community, and together, we have agreed to a statement of principles that will lead to a court-enforceable consent decree,” said Holder.
Among those protesting in Washington was student Nicole Dashiell who grew up in Cleveland.
“It’s finally gotten my home town, the effects of racialized police violence, and I just wanted to let the world know that a lot of Americans are upset about this, and we want it to change,” said Dashiell.
Civil rights leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton, have announced a national demonstration to be held December 13 in Washington.
Protest in New York