by Jennifer Schlueter
With great suspense spectators all over the nation awaited the verdict of the grand jury in Ferguson last Monday whether to arraign police officer Darren Wilson or not. When the man who shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was not indicted, people everywhere went into the streets to show their disapproval of the jury’s decision.
Whereas some protests in Ferguson escalated and shops were lit on fire, demonstrations in LA and its surrounding counties remained mostly peaceful; however, several freeways including the 5, 110 and 10 were blocked for hours. Sit-ins and rallies in Leimert Park, Beverly Hills, and other areas were reported, where people raised signs and their hands shouting “hands up, don’t shoot.” Long Beach resident Leisette Rodriguez shared her resentment with the Los Angeles Times: “I’ve had enough,” said the 46-year-old. “It seems like it is never going to come around where communities of color even matter.” She feels for Brown’s family: “My heart is hurting so much for them.”
The LA Times quoted a statement of Los Angeles County Sheriff-elect Jim McDonnell, in which he urges angry protestors to “respect the outcome and processes of our legal system.” He adds: “The greatness of our nation comes from our ability to come together peacefully and lawfully, to speak up about what is on our minds, and to respect one another.”
According to the LA Times, Darrin Johnson of Redlands signed the petition “We Call on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to file federal criminal civil rights charges against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the Slaying of Michael Brown” on Change.org. He told the paper: “I’m frustrated beyond belief. Signing this petition is at the moment the closest thing I have to taking action. I want to see people of color treated with the same dignity and humanity that whites are by those in power.”
Since the killing of their child, Michael Brown’s family have advocated body-worn cameras for officers, and started a campaign. In a statement, they wrote: “We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen. Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.” According to the Signal Hill Tribune, the Long Beach Police Department is currently “conducting studies to determine policy, vendor selection and costs of the new equipment.”
The Daily Beast reports that several more black teens have been shot by cops since the killing of Mike Brown. One of them in Long Beach: “Officers were responding to a report of a missing juvenile girl, and found her in the house of Carey Smith-Viramontes. According to police, Smith-Viramontes was armed with a knife and was shot dead by an officer on the scene,” The Daily Beast said.
Upset Protestors Rally Against Ferguson Verdict, Block Freeways
by Jennifer Schlueter
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