Police brutality protesters take over Miami, Oakland highways, NYC stores



Deon Johnson, 19 of Washington, DC, raises his fist while leading protestors as they march in downtown Washington, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014.
UPDATED, Dec. 6, 2014, 1 a.m. ET
While protesters in New York were thwarted from taking over a highly-trafficked parkway, their counterparts blocked drivers on major thoroughfares in Miami, Oakland and elsewhere as demonstrations continued Friday for a third night following the Staten Island grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer for the chokehold death of Eric Garner.
The protests in New York—which attracted many, but nowhere near the crowd of more than 5,000 seen on Thursday night—started out the evening focused on taking over large retail stores.
On Thursday, the demonstrators shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, Holland Tunnel and prompted police to briefly close the entry to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Major highways were blocked by marchers nationwide that night.
Attempts to close the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive in New York City were thwarted by police. Several protesters made it onto the drive, but police—some hopping out of vans— kicked them off and the march that had been running for more than five hours seemed to disperse.
Police declined to comment on arrests, but protesters said about a dozen were zip-tied coming off the FDR. A line of police worked to block the highway at Delancey Street.
Before they failed to shut down the drive, hundreds flooded the iconic midtown Apple Store Friday and staged a die-in under its large glass cube in honor of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old black man who died after being choked by New York Police Officer Daniel Palanteo in July.
Demonstrators also disrupted holiday shoppers as they briefly took over the large Macy's in Herald Square, the flagship for the department store. They chanted "I can't breathe" and "The whole damn system is guilty as hell." Afterwards the protesters joined another group of marchers nearby.
Taking over the major retail stores was a new tactic for the New York protesters, although demonstrators in other cities crowded retail stores last month in the days following the announcement that the white officer who killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson would not be indicted.
As protesters have rallied in the wake of the Garner decision, Brown's death has also fueled their marching.
The protesters shouted "Whose house? Our house!" in the Apple Store, a play on the "Whose streets? Our streets!" chant often heard in the months of protests in Ferguson and other cities across the country. They staged the die-in for several minutes, toting signs that said "Police Brutality is a Deadly Force" and "I can't breathe," Garner's final words.
More than 300 people later swarmed Grand Central Station chanting "Hands up, don't shoot!" Once inside, many in the group took to the ground for a die-in. Other die-ins took place throughout the city, including Bryant Park.
Die-ins were a common sight at many protests throughout the country, including the one in Washington, D.C., where hundreds lay on the ground twice in the evening in Chinatown.
Earlier in the day, Garner's daughter and cousin called on protesters to work for justice but to do so peacefully. Garner's cousin, Benjamin Lawton, described him as a "gentle bear" on CNN.
"He wouldn't want for people to go out and be angry and break stuff," his daughter Erica Garner, said. She added that her father was a "family man" and that she believed that not only Palanteo, but other officers on her father's back during the incident contributed to his death and should serve time because of their actions.
Marchers in New York said they planned to continue rallying despite the hurdles for change.
Zadie Walker, a protester from Brooklyn, said authorities would prefer people not to act.
"They love apathy, because then they've got you," he said, adding that protesters are angry because of a lack of answers.
"As a collective we are without answer and anytime you don't have the answers, but you want the answers, you go to this place of emotional frustration. "
Demonstrators in New York had also gathered in Columbus Circle, Union Square and Times Square, braving the rain and cold, with the temperature hovering around 42 degrees.

Oakland

In Oakland, a large crowd of protesters marched onto the I-880, which connects San Jose and Oakland, but they were pushed back by police and arrests were made.
Some later marched to an Oakland BART station, breaking a gate authorities tried to push down to keep them out with a trash can and at least one window. They shouted "Oscar Grant! Oscar Grant!" Grant, who was unarmed but resisting arrest at the time, was killed by a BART police officer in 2009. Grant's story inspired the 2013 drama Fruitvale Station.
At least one woman tried to calm the crowd, claiming that the troublemakers weren't locals.
Organized demonstrators began their night at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, where they pulled an unexpected stunt.
After the countdown for the lighting, protesters dispersed in the crowd pulled up hidden signs that said "White silence=violence" and "Join us," turning attention away from the main event.
Earlier this week, demonstrators marched at tree lighting ceremonies in New York and Philadelphia, too.
The Oakland protesters then fanned out onto the streets, and like Thursday, drums once again set the rhythm for the march.
The group grew throughout the night, but were encouraged by several among them to remain peaceful.
They were blocked at certain intersections by police, but backtracked in other directions to continue.

Chicago

After taking over the streets, small groups of protesters marching in Chicago were arrested by police, according to eyewitnesses on the ground.
Protesters were seen in front of the Art Institute in Grant Park and marching and chanting along the Magnificent Mile, Chicago's largest shopping district.

New Brunswick, New Jersey

In New Jersey, dozens of students from Rutgers University walked through New Brunswick, slowing downtown rush-hour traffic to a crawl and forcing the city to postpone a tree lighting ceremony scheduled at Monument Square.
A Christmas tree lighting ceremony was canceled hours before it was set to begin due to protesters' plans to swarm the downtown square where the event was supposed to take palce, according to Reuters.

Miami

Activists marched through the streets of midtown Miami and blocked a major causeway connecting Miami to Miami Beach.

Providence, Rhode Island

In Providence, Rhode Island, several hundred people blocked downtown streets, while city police had to stop some protesters from walking onto Interstate 95 on Friday night.
No arrests were reported.

Washington, D.C

Hundreds returned to Chinatown in Washington, D.C. for a third night Friday, staging multiple die-ins for four and a half minutes, symbolizing the hours spent by Brown after he died on a Ferguson street.
Killings By Police Protests

Protestors block an intersection with a four and-a-half minute "die-in" in downtown Washington, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014.
The group marched peacefully throughout the city, hitting the U Street Corridor, Adams Morgan and K Street NW.
Police warned of road closures throughout the night due to the rallies.
UPDATED 8:20 p.m.: Comments from Eric Garner's daughter and cousin added.
UPDATED 10:20 p.m.: Nationwide protest details.
UPDATED 11:50 p.m.: Oakland and Washington, D.C. protests information.




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