BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Protests are taking place throughout Baltimore City following a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo.
Rochelle Ritchie has more on local reaction to the grand jury’s decision.
Passionate protestors have taken to the street of Baltimore City, from McKeldin Square to Morgan State University–all in response to the decision not to indict Wilson.
“Police officers shooting unarmed people is probably the biggest damper I’ve seen in justice in recent weeks, months and the past few years,” said Bryan Upsher, UB law student.
They say the decision sends the message that police are above the law.
“The police in this country have just gone crazy. They think that they have the authority to kill whoever they want, and they’re not being held accountable for what they do,” one man said.
It was an emotional moment outside of the University of Baltimore, where law students took a silent approach to their demonstration–stretching out on the ground in protest to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson.
“I started tearing up,” said Crystale Barfield, UB Law student. “It was really heart-wrenching because you see that, and I just felt like that could’ve been me.”
Outlined in chalk, students lay on the ground for four minutes in indication of the four hours Brown’s body laid in the street.
“This isn’t about one person, although Michael Brown obviously paid a terrible price, but there are broad questions about how police are deployed and what force they use in particular situations,” said Ronald Weich, UB dean of law.
Baltimore City residents now join the thousands across the nation in peaceful demonstrations.
“There are so many steps that we need to take in order to be successful in our search for justice and peace, in our search for equality. One big step we can take is police body cameras, putting cameras on police so that we understand exactly what’s going on, so that we don’t have so many discrepancies in stories,” Upsher said.
City police are pleased that despite the outrage, people in Baltimore City remain committed to demonstrating peacefully.
“We have about three different crowds throughout the city as a whole. Everybody’s peaceful. They’ve been peaceful throughout the day. No major issues, and I think it’s an outcry of pain and hurt from communities,” said Anthony Batts, police commissioner.
“While we may not always agree, one thing we always agree on is their right to demonstrate peacefully, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that they have that right,” said Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez.
At Morgan State University, protests were a bit more vocal—all in frustration over the grand jury’s decision.
“This is an epidemic around the nation,” a student protestor said.
“It doesn’t have to take a hundred plus days to come to a solution,or a verdict if you will. But what it does take is a 100 plus days to try and justify and rationalize,” said Dr. Monique Akassi, MSU assistant professor.
The moving protest that started at Morgan State University shut down roads, including Cold Spring Lane, near the Northeast Baltimore campus on Tuesday afternoon. As students march arm-in-arm through Northeast Baltimore, they can be heard chanting “No justice. No peace” and “Hands up. Don’t shoot.”
The demands for change are now coming together as one voice in Washington, D.C. where Civil Rights organizations, including the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP, will take their issue of police using deadly force to the federal government.
“I think people will feel a little uplift if they see someone of law enforcement across the United States when these things happen to go to court,” said Baltimore NAACP president Tessa Hill-Aston.
Hill-Aston says voting is what changes the law.
The legal battle is fair from over in Ferguson. Brown’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against Wilson. The justice department investigation is not yet complete.
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