It started rather calmly. A few hundred people gathered in Union Square, anxiously anticipating the long awaited decision by a Ferguson, Missouri Grand Jury on whether or not charges would be filed against Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown.
If you haven’t a clue as to why this case has captured the attention of the country, and the world beyond, let me fill you in.
In August, Michael Brown, an 18-year old unarmed black male was accused of stealing cigars from a Ferguson, Missouri convenience store. Ferguson dispatch alerted nearby law enforcement to the incident resulting in Officer Darren Wilson’s encounter with Brown. To make a long story short, Wilson shot and killed Brown following a physical altercation.
Wilson claimed that Brown was the aggressor, and defended his use of lethal force by employing self defense as the reason he discharged his weapon. Eye witnesses have claimed that Brown was shot walking away from Wilson, with his hands raised (inspiring the mantra of the movement – “hands up, don’t shoot”).
Ultimately, a Grand Jury was convened, and after three months of deliberations, handed down their decision which allowed Wilson to walk free.
A little after 9PM, news broke that Wilson would not be charged with a crime. Moments later, the somewhat peaceful gathering erupted with emotion, and marched into the streets, chanting at the top of their lungs – “no justice, no peace.”
They zigged and zagged through the Union Square area before rerouting toward Times Square. They snarled evening commutes throughout midtown, at times marching into oncoming traffic. Police on scooters and on foot attempted to guide the demonstrators to their final destination, but tensions boiled over on multiple occasions resulting in at least two physical altercations with law enforcement.
Tonight’s demonstration was echoed by others throughout the country, all organized in solidarity with those that paralyzed Ferguson, Missouri.