NY to Washington: Thousands march across US to protest police killings

Tens of thousands of protesters across the US marched on Saturday — to Congress in the nation's capital, along iconic Fifth Avenue in New York and in front of Boston's Statehouse.

hidden December 14, 2014 09:05:47 IST
NY to Washington: Thousands march across US to protest police killings

Washington: Tens of thousands of protesters across the US marched on Saturday — to Congress in the nation's capital, along iconic Fifth Avenue in New York and in front of Boston's Statehouse — to call attention to police killings of unarmed black men and urge lawmakers to take action.

Chanting "I can't breathe!" ''Hands up, don't shoot!" and waving signs reading "Black lives matter!" the demonstrators also staged "die-ins" as they lay down across intersections.

"My husband was a quiet man, but he's making a lot of noise right now," said Washington protest marcher Esaw Garner, widow of Eric Garner, 43, who died after being put in a chokehold by New York City police during an arrest for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

Organizers had predicted 5,000 people at the Washington march, but the crowd appeared to far outnumber that. They later said they believed as many as 25,000 had shown up. It was not possible to verify the numbers; Washington police do not release crowd estimates.

NY to Washington Thousands march across US to protest police killings

Demonstrators sit in the street to protest recent grand jury decisions clearing white police officers involved in the killings of unarmed black men in Boston. AP

Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, called the demonstrations a "history-making moment." "It's just so overwhelming to see all who have come to stand with us today," she said.

Joining the Garners in Washington were speakers from the family of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old killed in Ohio as he played with a pellet gun in a park, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights leader who helped organize the marches.

Several speakers asked the crowd to chant, "I can't breathe." Garner had gasped those words several times before his death.

The national protests erupted earlier this year after 18-year-old Michael Brown's shooting death by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. They reignited after grand juries in Missouri and New York last month declined to indict the officers involved in the deaths of Brown and Garner.

Washington, DC, and US Park Police said they had made no arrests in the capital protests. DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the Washington march was peaceful. She mingled with the crowd and said she wanted to show solidarity with the marchers.

In Boston, however, about two dozen people were arrested for disorderly conduct after scuffling with officers blocking a highway on-ramp.

The march through the heart of Manhattan swelled to at least 25,000 people, police said. It snarled traffic but remained peaceful, with no arrests reported by late afternoon.

Donna Carter, 54, marched with her boyfriend, whose teenage son was shot and killed by police in the 1990s while carrying a toy gun. "It's good to see people of all colours here to say enough is enough," said Carter, who's black. "I'm a parent, and every child that's killed feels like my child."

Politicians and others have talked about the need for better police training, body cameras and changes in the grand jury process to restore faith in the legal system.

Associated Press

 

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