Peaceful protests regarding Ferguson court case

Almost 4 months ago an 18 year old African American by the name of Michael Brown was shot dead by a white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. Specifically, this event occurred on the evening of August 9, 2014. It is impossible to know exactly what happened between this young man and the police officer who shot him. From everything I’ve seen, heard, and read, only two things are clear. The officer is sticking to his claim that he felt mortally threatened, and Michael Brown was unarmed when he was shot.

Despite numerous witness interviews, it is still unclear as to what exactly Brown did that made Officer Wilson feel mortally threatened, but it is corroborated that he reached into the officer’s car, supposedly for his gun. According to Wilson, Brown was beating him in the face and neck so that he was unable to reach any form of protection other than his gun. When Wilson did pull his gun, Brown wrestled him for it. After two shots, Brown fled and Wilson chased him, leading to the final and fatal shooting.

It is also corroborated that Brown had his hands up when shot, although, it is debatable as to whether his hands were up near his waist or above his head. Witness accounts begin to break down when confirming whether or not Brown was running away from Wilson, towards Wilson, or kneeling. There is also no accurate account on how many shots were fired, not even by Wilson. Of course, a forensic examination gives an accurate account, but the lack of witness accuracy puts other claims into question.

This is the type of case that stirs up emotions, fears, and the embittered prejudices that we as a society try so hard to keep buried. The original event led to many protests, some peaceful, some not so. USA Today created a timeline of the events from the August 9, 2014 shooting through the November 24, 2014 court decision. The grand jury decided to not indict Officer Wilson, which has caused another wave of protests that have spread not just throughout the United States, but even into Great Britain.

#ShutItDownATL has been trending on twitter.

#ShutItDownATL was a planned community gathering to allow residents a peaceful opportunity to express their views regarding the court decision publically. It garnered a lot of attention along with protests in Los Angeles and New York, partially due to human road blocks. However, rather than focus on the negative results of a negative situation, will look at a top ten list of peaceful protests.

Credit: DCC/

[new page=Minneapolis, Minn.]

10. Minneapolis, Minn.

A crowd gathered outside the Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 25. Their goal was to peacefully demonstrate their disapproval of the grand jury decision and show their support of Michael Brown’s family, some citing racism as a close to home issue. One resident suggested that this may be the impetus needed to require all police officers to include video cameras as part of their uniform.

[new page=Washington D.C.]

9. Washington D.C.

In Washington D.C., a group of protesters marched throughout the city. The group began their demonstrations at the D.C. Police Headquarters, and later gathered in Judiciary Square. Similar to protesters in Minneapolis, the citizens in D.C. want to see more accountability within the law enforcement agencies and suggest that wearing body cameras is one way to accomplish this.

[new page=Kingston, R.I.]

8. Kingston, R.I.

Kingston, Rhode Island also hosted a peaceful protest, mostly comprised of students from the University of Rhode Island. Although it was not an original idea, it was a noticeable protest due to the fact that the protesters held a “die in.” A “die in” is like a sit in, but participants lie on the ground in death-like poses. In D.C., protesters laid by the street for four minutes to represent the four hours Michael Brown’s body lay in the street after he was killed. In Rhode Island, the students were actually in the street, and stayed there for a full four hours.

[new page=Miami, Fla.]

7. Miami, Fla.

“Hands up, don’t shoot” could be heard repeatedly outside the Miami-Dade criminal courthouse in Miami, Florida. The relatively small crowd stationed outside the courthouse held signs, and chanted in a peaceful protest. In addition to “Hands up, don’t shoot,” the crowd also yelled the familiar sayings “No justice, no peace,” and “Black lives matter.”

[new page=Boston, Mass.]

6. Boston, Mass.

Just outside the state house in Boston, Massachusetts a group gathered to show their disapproval of the Missouri grand jury decision. Their gathering was also peaceful as they spread out into a circle, and chanted “Justice for Mike Brown.” As seen in this news clip, they even held a moment of silence hand in hand.

[new page=Colorado Springs, Colo.]

5. Colorado Springs, Colo.

A march took place in Colorado Springs, Colorado allowing the community there to come together and share their belief that Officer Wilson used excessive force, an act which some believe occurs all too often within law enforcement agencies. Rather than laying in the street, protesters in Colorado Springs stopped to kneel with signs that read “Kneel down for Michael Brown,” a reference to the claim that Brown was kneeling when he was shot.

[new page=Seattle, Wash.]

4. Seattle, Wash.

More university students formed a peaceful protest, this time at the University of Washington’s Red Square in Seattle. These students also carried banners, and chanted in support of Michael Brown’s family. Some even sang a song requesting “Justice for Mike Brown,” and asking the press “Which side are you on?”

[new page=Buffalo, N.Y.]

3. Buffalo, N.Y.

Marching along Bailey Avenue in Buffalo, New York, a crowd moved toward the E-District Police Department. They, like those in other cities across the U.S., chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and “No justice, no peace,” but their protest was peaceful. Their goal is to create and build a positive connection between communities and their law enforcement officials. Communities need to have more trust in their police departments, and the police men and women need to feel more invested in the locations with which they are charged to protect.

[new page=Harrisburg, Pa.]

2. Harrisburg, Pa.

Building relationships between police officers and community members was a desire that was also expressed by residents of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Many gathered at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg to pray for those of Ferguson and to create an opportunity to talk about how to curb local instances of violence. According to CBS 21 News, as seen in the news video here, State Representative Kim said that “The non-black community needs to rise up and support the black community.”

[new page=London, UK]

1. London, UK

Citizens of the United Kingdom met up outside of the U.S. embassy in London in order to show their support of peaceful protests here in America. Like many of their American counterparts, they carried banners and chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot.” In addition, they held a candlelit moment of silence. It was a moment of silence to remember Michael Brown, and some of their own citizens who were mistreated by their legal system. A key point was that a change in institutional racism is needed to prevent future use of excessive, and therefore unnecessary, force.

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