In D.C., Ferguson protests loud but peaceful

WASHINGTON — While protests in Ferguson, Missouri, turned violent after the grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, in the District the decision was met peacefully, with marches and chants.

Beginning around the African-American Civil War Memorial, on U Street, a group of protestors marched to the White House. One carried a sign reading “Stop Racist Police Terror,” while another sign read “My Future Son Is Not Safe.” Others included “Black Lives Matter” and “Our Cities Are Not Battlefields.”

The chants included “no justice, no peace,” and a reference to a lynching victim from 1954: “Michael Brown/ Emmett Till/ How many black kids will you kill?”

“This is the reality we live in,” one protestor says, “A cop can get away with killing a black man.” Another protestor asks, “Are the laws only to protect the cops?”

More protests are planned this week and next, including a protest in Mount Vernon Square Tuesday night and a planned strike by workers at the Wal-Mart on H Street. Eugene Puryear, with the #DCFerguson movement says the goal was to shut the store down on Black Friday.

The account of Brown’s killing says that his body was left in the street for four and a half hours, and when protestors arrived at the White House (by that time, the total had grown to about 200 to 300) they stood silently for four and a half minutes, then singing and chanting: “Hands up don’t shoot!,” said to be Brown’s last words, before they dispersed.

Meanwhile, at Ben’s Next Door, the announcement of the grand jury’s decision was met with a different reaction: complete silence.

WTOP’s Max Smith says that the announcement was greeted with resignation: “Everyone seemed disappointed, maybe, but not shocked in any way.” He says that after patrons listened silently to the announcement itself, reactions included “I’ve seen this movie before,” and simply: “Damn.”

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