Crowds of protesters marched through New York City streets Thursday night to register anger over a grand jury’s decision not to charge a white police officer in the death of an unarmed black man, SIA reports quoting the AA.
Groups of protesters converged on many of the city’s storied locations, blocking traffic, staged die-ins, carried mock coffins, and chanted “I can’t breathe,” the last words of 43-year-old Eric Garner who was killed July 17 in the New York borough of Staten Island.
Largely peaceful protests in Times Square on Thursday afternoon evolved into a tense standoff with police at night, as dozens of protesters were arrested around 11 p.m.
Another wave of 300 demonstrators marched from the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn, lying in the street outside the Barclays Center and blocking traffic for at least 15 minutes.
Multiple arrests were reported in Herald Square, where several hundred demonstrators staged a lengthy sit-down in a silent protest.
Protesters also attempted to block the Holland and Lincoln tunnels connecting Manhattan to New Jersey.
The evening rush-hour traffic was brought to a standstill after approximately 800 protesters managed to briefly block the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.
It was the second night of unrest in the city after a New York grand jury declining to indict white police officer Daniel Pantaleo for using a banned police department chokehold while attempting to arrest Garner for allegedly selling illegal cigarettes outside of a Staten Island store.
The decision came a week after a Missouri grand jury decided not to prosecute another white officer in the fatal shooting in August of an unarmed black teen in the city of Ferguson.
Demonstrations also erupted Thursday in other U.S. cities including Washington, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Hundreds marched throughout the nation's capital Thursday afternoon and into the late evening, shutting down major intersections and entering a local Walmart store before converging on the central Chinatown neighborhood.
Protesters were briefly locked in the Walmart as store security attempted to keep additional demonstrators out.
Pierre, a leader of the group in his mid 20’s, said that he has quit school and his job until Pantaleo is arrested.
Before disbanding, protesters vowed to gather again Friday.
Garner's death, ruled a homicide by New York’s medical examiner, was caused by "the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police," according to the official autopsy.
Along with the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old unarmed black teen Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson, Garner's death ignited a debate about race relations and police brutality across the United States.