(By Marguerite Ward, photo © Dave Gershgorn)
NEW YORK — Hundreds of protestors angry over the non-indictment of Darren Wilson took to the streets of New York on Tuesday evening, shutting down traffic going into the Lincoln Tunnel, the FDR Drive and Times Square.
Cities around the country held simultaneous protests in the wake of the decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.
Protestors in New York marched in the streets from Union Square to the Lincoln Tunnel and then to Times Square, chanting “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” and “Justice for Mike Brown.” There were no visible signs of property damage.
The NYPD deployed a Long Range Acoustic Device sound cannon (LRAD) on the crowd, a machine that creates a high-frequency siren noise louder than most people’s threshold for pain, and made several arrests in Times Square. There are unconfirmed accounts from protestors and a CBS News report that police also used pepper spray.
At approximately 8:30 p.m., police officers in Times Square gave the protestors a two-minute warning to disperse from Seventh Avenue. When protestors did not comply, police made several arrests.
Pierre Roache, 27, who was protesting in Times Square, said, “We were peaceful. The cops are indiscriminately arresting people. They’re pushing us, aggressing us. They actually charged into the crowd, threw a girl down. They took another guy down, threw him down on the ground. The only reason why they stopped because the crowd joined around him and the camera crews were on him.”
Protestors held up signs that read “Black Lives Matter,” “Justice for Michael Brown” and “Killer Cops.”
“Basically people are fed up with the way police abuse their authority, and we just want to make it known that we’re not going to stand for it,” said Yohance Barton, 16, who was marching in the protest as it moved from the Lincoln Tunnel to Times Square.
Karina Robles, 18, who was also marching from the Lincoln Tunnel to Times Square, said the police presence was very heavy.
“There’s just so many of them surrounding us on both sides. Everywhere we march there seems to be police and there are police cars everywhere and we’re not doing anything other than marching,” Robles said.
“It makes me feel like we’re protesting for a reason because the police in this country has too much power and they intimidate citizens instead of protect them.
A person that was supposed to protect and serve Mike Brown killed him, instead of protecting and serving him,” she said.
Hakeen Jennings, 20, who was watching the protest in Times Square, said, “You have people of all different races, of all different colors within the march because they all believe in the same thing.”