Eric Garner protesters march for another day — this time with a list of demands – CNN
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New York (CNN) — Red tail lights snaked for hundreds of yards down an interstate in Oakland, California, as motorists stood still for protesters blocking traffic for a few minutes.
The marchers were making a statement about alleged unchecked police brutality and racially uneven justice in America on the third day of marches, sit-ins and die-ins over a grand jury decision in the death of African-American Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York.
Many people around the country have been as shocked by the decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who put Garner in a chokehold, as they have been horrified by the cell phone video of it that went viral.
The outrage has weighed heavily especially after the police shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. When the jury announced it will not indict Pantaleo, protests dotted the American map.
A coast away in New York City, protesters attempted to block traffic on FDR Drive — a six-lane thoroughfare that hugs eastern Manhattan — and on the iron trellised Manhattan Bridge, which connects the island to Brooklyn.
But at the end of a long, cold, wet Friday, police had had enough and pulled up in detention buses. The sight of them alone was a deterrent to most protesters.
After a handful were arrested, the remaining group called it a night.
New York multitudes
Nowhere in the country have streets overflowed with as many outraged people as in New York City.
Friday’s crowds appeared to be smaller than previous nights’, as cold rain trickled down jackets and hats. But marchers were still passionate about being heard. Some passed out a list of demands to the media regarding Garner’s death.
All officers involved should be fired, they demanded, and a special prosecutor should investigate complaints of excessive force. The state legislature should make chokeholds punishable.
Earlier, Eric Garner’s daughter, Erica, told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” that she wanted to see people punished for her father’s killing.
“Justice to me is basically doing what’s right,” she said. “I wouldn’t be happy with (Pantaleo) just losing his job or being suspended or still getting paid. I wouldn’t want that. I would want him to face time in jail.”
She said that anyone who contributed to her father’s death should go to prison.
Christmas tree die-ins
At Herald Square, where Broadway cuts an elegantly slanted path through streets and avenues to create a picturesque gathering place, protesters flooded Macy’s century old flagship store — a national historic landmark.
Store management allowed them to stage a die-in under the eyes of holiday shoppers and ceilings decked with Christmas cheer.
They marched up a few blocks to Times Square and blocked traffic for 10 minutes, then turned down 42nd Street chanting, “This is what democracy looks like.”
They stopped again in Bryant Park and encircled some shops. Many of the workers in those stores came out and, in support, raised their hands in the air.
The crowd set off up Sixth Avenue, traversing against the flow of yellow cabs and other cars. A cacophony of horns greeted them, and cab drivers held their hands out of their windows in approval.
Chuck Helms, 67 and white, clad in a union-issue hard hat and satin Occupy Wall Street jacket, wore a sign around his neck.
“Remembering my brothers. BLACK LIVES MATTER,” it read. The faces of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Akai Gurley — all black men whose controversial deaths made headlines — looked out from photos.
Helms said, “It’s a shame that people have to die for us to become focused.”
All over America
Protests dotted the American map, and crowds were diverse.
Signs floated over the heads of crowds reading “Black lives matter” in North Carolina, Ohio, California and Louisiana.
It was personal for a young black man in Washington who held a sign reading, “I could be next.”
Students lay down on campus walkways for dozens of yards in a die-in at Emory University in Atlanta on Friday.
Protesters littered the pavement in Washington in the darkness, where they lay on the ground for 4.5 minutes symbolizing the 4.5 hours the body of Michael Brown lay on a Ferguson street.
“I’m not an angry black man. I’m an outraged, hurt black man,” one protest organizer there said.
1,000 marchers, MLK Jr.
Near Boston — site of one of the largest demonstrations of the night — several dozen people blocked an intersection by lying on the road.
About 1,000 people marched Friday evening from Tufts University in Somerville, Massachusetts, to Harvard Square, according to a police estimate.
“People who don’t already realize what is happening, maybe they will open their minds a little bit, or people that do realize and don’t care will realize that people are angry and it’s not OK,” a protesting woman told CNN affiliate WHDH.
In Chicago, Elizabeth Huston, a paralegal, joined in for the first time.
“So many people realize this is a problem. This is disproportionally affecting black men and women,” she said.
In Cleveland, protesters marched over the death of Tamir Rice, 12, who police say had a lifelike air gun and didn’t comply with an officer’s commands.
“CPD what do you say? How many kids have you killed today,” they yelled.
The boy’s family filed a wrongful death suit Friday against police over the killing, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
At a historic spot in the history of American civil rights, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Memphis, Tennessee, a dozen or more people sprawled out on a walkway.
Feet away was the second floor motel balcony, where an assassin’s bullet stuck down Dr. King, the quintessential father figure of the American civil rights movement, in 1968.
Meanwhile, New York officials said complaints against police officers had fallen significantly in the second half of the year, compared with July to November 2013.
A report that tallied complaints said 1,813 were made so far since July 1 of this year, 26% less than the number of complaints filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board in the same period of the prior year. Excessive force allegations fell by 29%.
The dip followed a slight rise in the first six months of the year, the report said, but, overall, allegations have declined in 2014.
CNN’s Ray Sanchez reported from New York, Athena Jones reported from Washington and Steve Almasy reported and wrote in Atlanta. Michael Pearson, Bill Kirkos, Dave Alsup, Ben Brumfield, Jason Carroll, Ralph Ellis, Dan Merica, Dana Ford and Greg Botelho and Melanie Whitney contributed to this report.