Holiday Happiness on Hiatus

By: Daisy Burge

Portland, OR
The events in Ferguson have sparked protests in other places around the nation. In Portland, Ore., many people have taken to the streets to protest the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson.
In short, Darren Wilson was a white Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in the middle of a street on Aug. 9. The final decision ruled in his favor that he did not commit a crime in killing Brown.
In Portland, protesters were seen chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” in opposition of the rule. They were also seen chanting, “I can’t breathe,” in protest of the grand jury deciding not to charge the police officer in the Eric Garner case.
Eric Garner was a black man who was put in a chokehold by a New York police officer while being arrested; he died as the result of this. Both of the chants are what the two men were believed to have said to the police officers prior to death.
The protests have not been violent or destructive, but peaceful. Protesters in Portland are calling for reforms to combat issues of police brutality around the country. Some have also said that police are prejudiced because of race and feel that some police officers have targeted black people, such as in the two cases mentioned earlier.
Protesters are calling for body cameras on police officers, to have clear evidence of what takes place when the police encounter civilians or use force. President Obama has already instituted this in many places, budgeting $263 million for body cameras and improved police training, according to Wired Magazine. The hope is that complaints of police brutality will be reduced once this has fully taken effect.
The protests have also addressed a minimum wage increase, and other issues in the country right now, in addition to police brutality. Protesters have kept this a peaceful community movement calling for change of all kinds in the United States.

Seattle, WA
Protests in Seattle over the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown have continued to ramp up in the last few weeks. According to The Washington Times Protesters chanting “Black Lives Matter!” took to the streets and malls on Black Friday, even staging a “die-in,” a form of protest where participants simulate being dead. Marissa Johnson, a protest organizer explained, “We want you to be uncomfortable shopping.” During one of these mall protests, a tree lighting ceremony was disrupted when a protester tried unsuccessfully to break a mall window. More recently, protesters were arrested for assault after throwing rocks and shooting fireworks at police officers. Mayor Ed Murray released a statement saying that although he supports the first amendment right of protesters, “violence against property or police officers will not be tolerated in our city.”

Ferguson, MO
In Ferguson, Missouri, protests and public demonstrations have been going on because of recent events in the St. Louis County city. Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old living in Ferguson was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9, in the middle of a street.
When the officer, Darren Wilson, was put on trial for his actions, the grand jury ruled not to indict him. Many members of the black community in Ferguson have become outraged, as this event raised issues of race and police brutality in the city, as well as the entire United States. The riots have come in waves, stronger than ever before on the evening of the grand jury rule in favor of Darren Wilson.
Some of the records from the investigation are being withheld for further use and investigation by the FBI. This has also led to doubt and disbelief from the public.
Many members of the Ferguson black community have expressed the way they feel about profiling from police officers, in a force that is, according to The New Republic, 96.4 percent white. The protests were conducted peacefully by many, but became somewhat violent. Buildings and cars were set afire by protesters. This was countered with tear gas, rubber bullets, and arrests from the police for being out past the curfew, according to the Washington Post.
While some citizens went about protesting differently, many wanted to keep it as a peaceful movement, aimed at making a statement about the way people of color are treated in the United States. Protesters were seen chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” to illustrate the way they feel about the grand jury decision, unraveling the issues that they feel are being ignored. The chant is what witnesses believe Brown said to Wilson before he was shot. Protesters are hoping to see a change in the amount of complaints of police brutality and killings seen in the news, specifically against people of color.

New York, NY
New York City has been home to some of the biggest protests against police brutality in recent months. The on-camera death of Eric Garner, an African-American man, by a white police officer sparked outrage that was fuelled by the decision of a grand jury to acquit the police officer. The New York Police Department has faced allegations of racial discrimination in the past year for its controversial “stop and frisk” policy whereby police officers can stop anyone on the street for activity that the officer perceives as suspicious.
Recent protests in New York have shut down highways and bridges, flooded Times Square and Grand Central Terminal with demonstrators, and have disrupted multiple events, such as the Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center. Demonstrators have also staged “die-ins”, in which protesters lay on the ground pretending to be dead at the hands of police. Some protests in the city have become violent and have led to multiple arrests in the area. Protests have continued for many days and are expected to continue.

Cleveland, OH
The fatal August shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., has sparked protests all across the country. Such riots have gained more intensity after it was announced that Wilson would not be indicted for the murder of Brown. The city of Cleveland, Ohio, has been a hub for these movements. According to a report in The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio University students gathered at Baker University Center the day after Wilson’s hearing to protest the Missouri grand jury’s verdict. At 11:45 p.m., students were warned by Jenny Hall-Jones, dean of students, and Ryan Lombardi, vice-president for student affairs, that Baker closed at midnight and they would face being escorted out by police if they didn’t leave. Shortly before midnight, students rose from the circle they had been sitting in for more than two hours as they discussed whether to leave or go.
“No! I’m not leaving,” student Jolana Watson shouted.
“We have power in numbers,” student and protest organizer Ryan Taylor said with a megaphone.
Lombardi announced around 12:20 a.m. that the group could continue the peaceful protest, and that Baker would be left open because Baker staff had agreed to stay on through the night. The crowd cheered.
Meanwhile, in Columbus on the Ohio State University campus, a peaceful prayer vigil was held in the Ohio Union after the grand jury’s decision. About 100 students gathered there around 11 p.m., saying they were praying for peace in Ferguson. After the vigil, they left without any problems.

Nashville, TN
The reaction to protests against racism and police brutality by law enforcement has been largely inflammatory in many places. Police in riot gear have used tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters. Nashville, however, has been an exception to the more violent situations in other cities.
The Nashville police department has refused to crack down on protesters peacefully assembling in the city (despite many of the protests taking place without legal permits). Police chief Steve Anderson has instead focused on protecting protesters from external violence and networking within the community to make sure that protesters are being courteous to the general community. According to Anderson, the community is simply exercising their First Amendment rights by convening to discuss issues of national importance. Despite many protesters committing non-violent misdemeanors such as public disturbance and disorderly conduct, the police have made no attempts at arrests. The protests have remained peaceful, and no looting has occurred.


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